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?”
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
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
You’d think that want and desire were cultural virtues. Everywhere we look, everything we do all day, is full of things making us want more things.
When a kid buys a toy, the packaging, or even an entire brochure inside, shows them immediately what other toys they should buy to go with the toy they just bought. Instant discontentment is built into receiving a new thing.
But that’s not just part of our culture, that is part of our broken design as human beings. God created us to want, to yearn, to desire Him so that we’d always be seeking a relationship with Him.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
This psalm of David might have been written when David was on the run in the wilderness. He had been anointed king years previous, but Saul the madman all but murdered that hope.
But the kingship isn’t what David was longing for. He was longing for fellowship with the Lord and His people. He was hoping for an opportunity to praise God beside other people. (The temple wasn’t built yet, but they still partied around the tabernacle and throughout their towns.)
Since God made this capacity for longing in us, we can rejoice in God whenever we want something! Whether it’s a thing like the Blu-Ray box set of Indiana Jones movies (which they advertise with a paper inside each individually sold Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD!) or a concept like justice or fairness – all of our longings are pointing to how much God loves us!
We yearn so bad because God wants to satisfy us. We covet because everything is unsatisfactory when it’s compared to something better, especially God.
So the next time you want something, praise God. Even if it’s sinful. Temptation comes but it can be a big red flag showing how much we are really, deep down, desiring God.
And how even more so, He is desiring us.