"As the deer pants for the water..."
This is exactly what I was thinking about a little while ago.
I was thinking about my sense that because I really GET how much I'm loved by God--exactly, wholly, immediately, always--I long for Him. It's classic cause and effect. He loves me and that creates a deep-calls-to-deep longing in me (which reminds me, that phrase is also from the 42nd Psalm, I think). There's always so much more of God than I--than any of us--can understand. It comes from our being finite and Him being infinite.
And that longing for Him has been represented in different ways by different verses during different seasons for me. Sometimes it's a promise, sometimes it's a prayer, but almost always the verse comes from a Psalm because I read the Psalms round and round and round through the years never stopping so they mark my days with a cadence. I can't remember all of them, but there's Psalm 86: 11, "...give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 27: 13, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 63: 1, "God, You are my God. earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for You in a dry and parched land where there is no water." There's ALWAYS Psalm 84, which is the Psalm of my life, packed full of everything my heart cries to Him.
This year, the Psalm has been 131.
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things to wonderful for me.
But I have calmed myself
and quieted my ambitions,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
But there was a season when Psalm 42: 1-2 was my prayer of longing. "As the deer pants for the water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"
This morning as I was pondering the goodness and rightness of longing for God in response to His great love for me--BECAUSE He loves me, how can I NOT long for Him more and more and more?--I suddenly saw a deer on our front patio. We live in a city where it isn't uncommon to see deer, you must understand. We're right at the edge of the Cascade Mountain Range, and there are great forests all around us. We see deer often. But I've never seen a deer on our front patio before. It's not easy task to get up our rock wall onto our patio and our loud, anxious dogs would surely be deterrents. At least that's what I've always thought. But there was it was, and inside our living room, our dogs slept peacefully, leaving only me to notice the quiet deer standing among our foliage. It stared at me, then--amazingly--walked straight up to the window for a moment. Looked straight at me unblinking (do deer blink?) then calmly walked down our driveway and up the street.
And I sat on the couch, stroking my Springer Spaniel's head so she wouldn't break the mood, and the words of this Psalm came to me. Panting for Him. Longing for Him like a deer longs for water. Quietly, gracefully, without blinking, without losing focus.
That deer this morning was just for me, I think. God did that. A moment He gave to remind me that my longing is good, that when it's questioned it's the question that is wrong. Keep true, He tells me. 'Maintain your quiet focus. Be that deer. Don't blink. I'm in this. I will satisfy your longing.'