Living in a place where we frequently see deer and have streams of water, I love the imagery used in Psalm 42 to describe a deep longing for God. What I notice is what the psalmist is asking. They are not asking for relief or to be saved from suffering. They aren’t asking for a specific answer or way. They are asking WHEN can I go and meet with God.
I am grateful for the foundation of faith that my family laid for me growing up. As I grew, that foundation became mine to build upon. Sometimes that meant a well-built structure, and sometimes that meant tearing down to rebuild again. Along my journey, I remember a particular season of parenting young kids, trudging through the trenches of the child welfare system as a foster parent, and feeling very similar to a deer panting for water. I was tired, weary, and worn out. On a particularly rough day, I remember praying something like, “God, where are you!” Only to be gently reminded by His Holy Spirit that He was right there with me. It was me that needed to stop, slow down, and turn to Him to rest in the streams of living water.
It reminds me of John 4:14, which says, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The living water that God supplies never runs dry, never runs out, and always satisfies. God, Himself, is the one who truly satisfies. So often, we turn to things that bring temporary satisfaction, such as distraction, finding our identity in others or a circumstance, or an unhealthy coping mechanism. When we meet with God, we can find help, hope, love, and joy that provide lasting sustainment. I’m convinced if we met with God first, the level of satisfaction in our life would look different.