Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thirsting for God in Trouble and Exile

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
-Psalm 42:1-2 (NASB)
We have no pastor at our church. Guest speakers from a variety of sources bless us with their Biblical knowledge. Some are professors from colleges, such as Moody Bible Institute or Dallas Theological Seminary. Others serve in the mission field.
As Biblical Christians, we believe there are no coincidences, yet sometimes occurances might seem too close to be anything else. We know that God, in His infinite wisdom, is the underlying cause for any "coincidence."
On Sunday, January 11, 2009, Richard Sanders, a missionary to Chad, Africa, served as our guest speaker. His lesson on Obedience struck me as one such "coincidence" since that is the theme of my novel, Obedient Heart. I will post comments on his lesson at a later date, but first I wanted to share an incident that happened that Sunday. It was something so subtle, that I wondered if anyone else noticed it.
Music director Ron Billingsly sang (in his beautiful baritone voice) a solo of "As A Deer Pants For Water." Mr. Sanders approached the podium to teach his lesson on the obedience of Rahab, but first described the special meaning the verses of that psalm have for him.
As a nomadic tribe travels from east to west on the African continent, they take no water with them. Instead, they carry a small hart (or deer). When they need to drink they temporarily set the hart free. Following him on a two-hump camel (known for speed), the elders of the tribe track the little deer. He runs to and fro, then stops to smell the air, and begins pawing the ground with his hoof. He digs up dirt, then mud, then dips his head into the newly dug well for a drink. They rely on God's creature, whose heart pants for water, to bring them sustenance.
This true account of how a deer pants for water showed me how I should thirst for God in my troubles and desert-like exile. I must look for Him, as the deer looks for water, with expectation of finding Him in my situation. Just as the water flows beneath the ground on which the deer stands, God in the Holy Spirit is there to nourish me with His brooks of living water.