So Pants My Soul

“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?

My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life…

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:1-8,11

“Send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:3-5

Any ongoing exertion will leave us panting for air; any ongoing need, for help; any hunger, for sustenance; any thirst, for water. The psalmist’s soul churns with all of these, and is desperate, yet he knows where to go- the only place to go- to find satisfaction: his living God. He urges his torn and turmoiled soul: hope in God. He addresses taunting and tears: remember God. He prays to the God of his life, repeating what he knows to be true, and the repeating convinces and reinforces.

Flowing streams are like the living God: life-giving and dynamic, teeming with expectancy, hope, and vitality. Moving water is never static, arbitrary, boring, or meaningless. We pour out our souls in misery and inadequacy, and God pours forth so much more- torrents of mercy and love, rushing currents of compassion that encompass and enswirl and hold us in their power and care.

We are cast down in circumstance, broken relationships, and inner pain, but God is present there, deep calling to our desolate deep. His waves that overwhelm also bear us up. He replaces our crying with song. His light and truth penetrate our darkness and lead us up to His holy hill. He who is our salvation is also our joy. In the tumult, would we pray to Him in hope?

Lord, You alone quench my soul thirst, and You alone are worthy of complete trust and surrender. May all of me hope in all of You, that I will praise You, and praise You again, all my days.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s