Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Think of the contrast between longing for something we are deprived of; versus longing for something where we are filled with wonder and anticipation that it’s coming. On the one hand, we can be dominated by our lack – on the other we are dominated by hope and expectancy.
This is one of those verses in the Bible that has gone from being a mystery to me to being a source of unspeakable joy. This was a Psalm of David when he was in the desert of Judah. Since encountering God when I became a Christian in 1968, I could relate to him writing and saying, ‘O God, you are my God”. I could also relate to seeking after God.
The thing I had difficulty with was, ‘my soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you’. I didn’t understand how that could come about. I wondered how you could get to a place where you could know and feel that your soul was thirsting for Him – that your body was longing for Him. On the one hand, as Christians we have his Spirit within us. Jesus has also promised to never leave us. But on the other hand, I perceived that this verse spoke of something of great value worth pursuing.
I identified the thirsting and longing as passion for the Lord and made it the focus of prayer for weeks, months and years. These were things that I didn’t have but wanted. They spoke to me of aspects of relationship with God that were there for those who would pursue them – and Him.
With joy I discovered in my prayerful pursuit that these are things that we can experience today. We can thirst for Him and long for Him. He provides us with living water to satisfy the thirst. He provides us with His presence to satisfy the longing for Him.
No matter where we are or what we are doing, we can experience Him. The thirsting and the longing are gifts that He gives that help motivate us to long for Him, to pursue Him, to see Him and to find Him. He wants to be found.