Saturday May 7, 2022 – Panting for Him

Psalm 42:1  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

We had the blessing of living for twenty years in a little village in the middle of a 32,000 acre national park in NE Ohio between Akron and Cleveland.  We were in a valley, surrounded by forests and fields with a river running through the middle of it.  It was home to a great many white-tailed deer.  We could hardly drive anywhere without seeing them particularly in the morning and evening.

After moving into our home there we soon learned that the deer considered the flowers we planted ‘lunch’!  Later we built a wrap-around porch on our house with hanging plants centered in the railing sections.  We had to install gates on the porch because the deer would come onto it to eat the plants.  Whenever we drove, we had to keep an eye out for the deer because deer accidents were so common.  We had four in those years with several near misses.

One of the important side benefits of being around the deer was the way they reminded me of this verse.  For years it presented a fascinating picture, but I just glossed over the part of the verse that talks of my soul panting for God.  Later when the Lord began dealing with me about passion for Him I came to realize that this verse describes how He wants me to become.  He wants my soul to pant and thirst after Him just like a thirsty deer pants for streams of water.

This began a great adventure for me in seeking the Lord as to how to make this happen.  It’s one thing to say it or claim it – it’s another for it to be descriptive of what is actually occurring.  One of the things that helped me in the process was the conviction that it was the Holy Spirit, at work in me, who was causing me to seek after this.  Since He was the source, my hope was grounded firmly in the fact that He would enable me both to pursue and grow into this goal He had for me.

Thus began a process of daily praying for this to become me. Overall it was part of a much bigger picture of becoming passionate for God.  The focus was upon seeking Him.   The amazing thing is not only that God loves to play ‘Hide & Seek’ with us – but that He loves to be found!  (When we’re playing this game with our little kids or grandkids, think of the joy we have in them looking for us and finding us.)

Whenever we see deer in nature, in calendars, in pictures – even reindeer hitched to a sleigh.  Let them all trigger thoughts of this verse and the wonderful gift that God has in it for those who seek after Him.


About Don Schmidt

Beginning in the fall of 2009, Don was VP of Operations & Director of Student Life for 2 years at Williamson Christian College in Franklin, TN - a wonderful, accredited 4 year college for adult learners. That is where he started writing the devotionals. The passion of his heart is to love God and to help others learn to love God more and more. He grew up in St. Joseph, MI - Class of '66. Graduated from Michigan State in '70 and Wheaton Grad School in '78. Thunderous conversion October 11, 1968. He and Donna were engaged 2 hrs & 15 minutes after they met August 25, 1969 at a Christian camp in Georgia. They married in '70 and have 4 wonderful sons. Most of his adult career has been in business in NE Ohio. They lived for 20 years in Peninsula, OH. They attended St. Luke's Ministries (Anglican) in Copley, OH for many years. Six years ago they were reassigned by the Lord to attend River of Life Community Church in Hudson, OH. St. Luke's prayerfully sent them off on this new adventure with much love.
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