A Psalm for the Season of Longing [Part 1]

By Alan Wright — May 10, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

Deep thirst finds deep grace.

Today’s Text: “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, ESV)

The psalmist’s description of the panting deer is not an image of a relaxed creature leisurely lapping the cool water for a bit of refreshing. It’s an image of a panicked deer finally escaping from the predator enough to breathlessly, desperately drink from the brook.  It’s a psalm about desperate longing for God.  Sometimes when you thirst most deeply, you discern truth most keenly.

Years ago, Golf Digest shared the story of Kathleen, a thirty-one handicapper who who took a break from constant preparations for her son’s upcoming wedding. Kathleen joined a couple other ladies for an afternoon on the links. When they came to the long par four sixteenth hole, all the ladies hit their drives into the same section of the fairway. Kathleen was the first to play. After her three wood landed in the rough, she decided to walk forward toward her ball.

Lois Burns played the next shot in her group. She shanked her three wood hard right and struck Kathleen squarely in the back of the head. Kathleen said it felt like an explosion. Her playing partners delivered her promptly to the hospital just down the street via golf cart.

The CAT scan and MRI showed, thankfully, that there was no fracture in her skull. But what the scans did reveal was shocking: an apple-sized tumor which was pressing her brainstem off center. Doctors were shocked that she had not suffered a stroke. They estimated the tumor had been growing for 15 years.

Kathleen underwent a successful, eight-hour surgery, which saved her life, and she still managed to walk down the aisle to her seat at her son’s wedding. That Christmas, Kathleen received a special gift from Lois: a Waterford vase adorned with the very golf ball that had beaned her. It was a trophy of grace. If you’re going through something painful and your soul is panting at the water brook, remember that God meets us in our pain. In your hardship, you grow thirsty for God’s presence. Deep thirst finds deep grace. And that’s the Gospel!

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