As the Deer Pants

As the deer pants for streams of 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?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:1-5, TNIV)

A dear pants for streams of water when it can’t find them. Likewise, the psalmist is panting for God, whom he can’t find anymore.

We all experience periods when we feel alone and desperate, when all joy is gone. God seems far away. We can find no warmth, no comfort and no hope. Our problems have overwhelmed us and we feel that there are no solutions. This is the sad condition that the author of Psalm 42 and 43 is living. He is in despair. He remembers how it used to be, how in times past he felt close to God. Now, he wonders what has gone wrong. Why can’t he find God?

But the author chooses not to get lost in his gloom. He understands that even though he can’t see God or feel God, he knows that God has not abandoned him. He believes that the dark and lonely time that he faces will be only temporary. Though he is in despair, he knows that he can still trust God and that in the future, he’ll once again be able to offer God his praise. He knows God will bring back the light.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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