Longing for God

            Going to Bible college just a couple years after I became born again was quite a culture shock for me.  I drank in as much of the experience as I could, but didn’t always know what to make of it.  As I may have shared before, my home was a good, moral place, even somewhat religious; but it wasn’t a place where we were steeped in the Bible, listened to Christian music, etc.  Going to chapel at Bible college every day was a new experience, and not always a welcome one.  When a Christian friend gushed to me once how thrilling it must be to assemble every day with a part of the Body of Christ, my response was less than enthusiastic.  She was in the work-a-day world, a few years older, and came from a different perspective.  She truly would have appreciated chapel.

            What put me off?  Let me share one example.  The college president, a man in his fifties or sixties, often gave messages in chapel and droned on and on in what I thought was a “holy of holies” tone of voice.  I didn’t understand his kind of piety then, nor do I get it now.  I do think I understand a little better one thing he preached on though.  He spoke from Psalm 42:1-2 on panting after God.  That passage says, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”

            I would sit wondering what in the world he was talking about?  How can a person pant for God like a thirsty deer at a stream?  Why would he talk about something that seemed so abstract and expect anybody to get it?  Since I wasn’t getting it, it was a turn off to me.  I’ve learned that not everything that turns me off should be ignored.  I have to puzzle over things and determine if I’m wrong in my outlook.  Sometimes I am, as in this instance.

            Maybe coming to an understanding of Ps. 42:1-2 comes with age and world weariness.  Recently I’ve been getting up in the morning and longing for communication with God.  I yearn to hear from Him, not what some preacher says He says.  Most Christian music is worldly and shallow and doesn’t appeal to me.  Certainly the music of the world is tiresome, and I don’t share the ungodly attitude and desires it expresses.  As a preacher I heard years back would put it, “I’m fed up, disgusted and board with…”  You can fill in the blank with any number of things.  My yearning is like panting.

            The first of the Ten Commandments in Ex. 20:3 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”  Moses put it this way in Deut. 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  Ps. 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

  How do we do that?  It’s not something we can whip up within our sinful human nature.  Maybe it comes easier for some than it does for me.  I’m coming to appreciate more and more how every aspect of our Christian walk is indeed all from the Lord Himself.  Paul says in more than one place we are to walk in the Spirit.  That’s exactly what it’s all about.  It’s His Spirit that causes me and you to long for and love God.  Notice Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39  “…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”  Praise Him for the Holy Spirit and His promise to satisfy our thirst!!

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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