Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Prayer For Panting

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul 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

Two things I am convicted by as of late. The first is that the God I believe in is the living God. Admittedly this is sadly easy to forget when learning a dead language and when reading a bunch of dead guys' books. Easy still more when in constant conversation about concepts and ideas that truly are lifeless apart from the Person of God. Thanks be to Him that His Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12), which so beautifully leads me to repent and remember that my God is not dead--never was, never will be. He is the living God and God of the living (Lk 20:38).

Secondly I am convicted about my longing for God, my desperation for Him. I pray to be like the deer whose very life depends on the water. I pray to be like the author, who seemed to understand his immense need for God. I see how God is not like stagnant, murky waters, but is like fresh, flowing waters. He is not a God that I should just settle for and hope that I might live; He is the God Who is deeply desirable in Whom I know I do live! I pray for eternal panting of the neediest kind.

I understand that some of these words may make no sense to some people who read this. The categories I use may seem confusing. "Why even long for God at all like this?" you might ask. Well trust me, there are times, many times, where I ask the same question. Sometimes it just doesn't mean much. Sometimes they are just words on a piece of paper. But reality hurts wonderfully when I am smacked in the face with the power of Jesus Christ.

I am reminded of something many people call the gospel--the truth that this God actually entered into the world He created, the world that had turned away from Him, and He walked completely innocently among us all. He taught, he preached, he healed, he loved, he challenged, he rebuked. He called people out; he got angry at stubborn, arrogant people; he ate with the fringe shadows of culture. Eventually he gave himself over to the people who hated him. He allowed himself to be mocked, abused, beaten, laughed at, only to then be nailed to a cross and be put to death gruesomely.

Yet in that he conquered our rebellion, our hatred, our selfishness--my numbness and deadness--and rose from the dead to prove once and for all that he truly is God, the living God. His words resound today as he said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (Jn 11:25-26). He is calling everyone now to turn to him, to turn from death to life because we can only have life in him who lives forever.

I hope I have made myself more clear. Life is at stake.

By His Grace.

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