It might have been ∙
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God! – Psalms 42:1
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
5 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
6 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.
8 By day, the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
11 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.
“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been’” (John Greenleaf Whittier).
What is your highest priority? The answers are endless: happiness, wealth, family, safety, physical strength, vitality, etc.
The Father’s highest priority for our lives is to develop an intimate and growing relationship with Him. He made us to thirst for Him as we thirst for water and to seek Him as we seek relief from a parched throat (Stanley).
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. What a picture of the longing of the soul for God! One can visualize the deer in a parched land, neck outstretched, seeking to get the scent of water, without which it will surely perish. So is the thirst for God” (Tesh and Zorn).
Psalms 42 is a nostalgic lament about life no longer being what it used to be. As we advance in age and become older adults, most physical things diminish and weaken. For many of us, mental resources decline as well. Our memory and capacity to focus wane. But our human spirits remain intact and actually grow stronger over time. Many children of the King who walk closely with Him throughout their lifetimes become mighty in their spirits. John the Baptist was an example of a person who was strong in spirit. Had his life not been ended by Herod, the tetrarch, he would undoubtedly have become stronger and stronger in spirit as he moved into his twilight years.
Luke 1:80 And the child [John the Baptist] grew and became strong in spirit.
REFLECT & PRAY
While we wait, we can rest in the Father’s love song sung for us.
Father we wait and long for intimacy with You. We desire to be close and near to You. As we wait, please help us to wait for it patiently.
When we are spiritually dry, believers should remind ourselves that God is sufficient for all our needs. This recollection will encourage us to continue to trust Him while we go through temporarily distressing times (Swindoll).
We are not alone; quiet peace is available in our pain. The Father’s tender voice surrounds us, a voice assuring us that even though we sometimes have no answers, we are dearly loved.
Sometimes we do not even know why we feel discouraged, down, or sad. It is good at those times to consciously put our hope in God, to draw on His strength, and anticipate the grace He will show us (Stanley).
In the haunting force of the psalmist’s imagery, he is deprived of communion with God. He craves the intimacy and exhilaration that once filled his consciousness. His thoughtful comments oscillate between thirst and tears. He “pours out” his soul within his deeper self. The absence of his God causes his very life essence to ooze away. The dryness of his spirituality becomes the death of his physicality (Terrien).
Romans 8:25 If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Biblical hope is the confident expectation that what the Father has promised will one day be realized in our lives. The moment we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are given hope, the blessed hope of that future day when the Father will reveal who the children of the King (Romans 8:19). The Father offers us a complete and total perspective transformation if we will only embrace it and think His thoughts after Him.
24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently).
“To Paul, life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a throbbing, vivid expectation. Christians are involved in the human situation. Within, they must battle with their own evil human nature; without, they must live in a world of death and decay.”
“Nonetheless, Christians do not live only in the world; they also live in Christ. They do not see only the world; they look beyond it to God. They do not see only the consequences of human sin; they see the power of God’s mercy and love. Therefore, the keynote of the Christian life is always hope and never despair. Christians wait not for death but for life” (Barclay).
Romans 8:19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.
The Greek word translated as waiting eagerly is apokaradokia. Apokaradokia is an intensely desired expectation with high confidence of fulfillment. “It describes the stance of someone who scans the horizon with head thrust forward, eagerly searching the distance for the ﬁrst signs of the dawn breaking – the daybreak of glory” (Barclay).
For children of the King, the future is certain and secure. When we fully comprehend this, we eagerly long for the fulfillment of our hope, our confident expectation. Rather than looking back longingly for the “good old days,” we look forward to the wonderful future days to come. Paul could hardly wait.
23 I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.
24 But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.
25 Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.
“The Christian perspective is determined not by the frustrations of the present, but by its future hope” (Dunn).
© Dr. H 2022