Yesterday was the fourth Sunday in Lent and what I want to share with you today is the words to a hymn titled: “As Pants the Hart for Cooling Streams.”
“As pants the hart for cooling streams,
When heated in the chase,
So longs my soul, O God for thee
And they refreshing grace.
For thee, my God, the living God,
My thirsty soul doth pine:
O when shall I behold they face,
Thou Majesty divine!
I sigh to think of happier days,
When thou, O Lord, wast nigh;
When every heart was tuned to praise,
And none more blest than I.
Why restless, why cast down, my soul?
Hope still, and thou shalt sing
The praise of him who is thy God,
Thy Savior, and thy King. Amen
- Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady
What a wonderful image! I don’t know about you but these days I find myself panting for God to fill my thirsty soul. There are times when I seem so busy that I don’t even get to my “to do” list. Everything seems to be coming at me all at once. How about all of you? I imagine you fill pretty similar especially if you are working in the service or health industries! Although I know all areas of business and service have had quite the negative impact on them throughout the past two years.
And yet when I pause, I find myself able to handle all that is thrown at me. I am able to be filled with peace beyond my capability. I am, for the most part, calm. I have a feeling the pause is a reminder to me that we all need to take a break. Scripture tells us even Elijah needed to take a pause and, in the pause, God sent his angel to minister to him giving him something to eat then telling him to take a nap.
I think it is important to share with you that my ability to remain calm is in direct proportion to my time spent with God in solitude. None of the above is done on my own ability. It is also not done without some whining thrown in. And fortunately, I do have a few people who allow me to whine to them and get it out of my system. I also give them the courtesy of letting them know I need to vent, and I keep it fairly short. (I at least try to) They are for me God with skin on. For my deepest laments…those go directly to God who is the source of all my ability. God is the one who sustains me in all things. God is my guide in life and my comfort when life goes sideways.
And life does go sideways at time. And here is the thing: I know in those sideways moments, God is there, right in the middle of it all. Full disclosure: This doesn’t mean I don’t get angry about things. It doesn’t mean I don’t get aggravated. It doesn’t mean I live a charmed life. And it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes! Please believe me when I tell you my life is not perfect…but it is good. And that is what matters. So, when you need refreshed, read the hymn…or if you prefer, I offer Psalm 42 which is the inspiration for this hymn as we remember that God is the source of all that is and God is always willing to offer God’s perfect peace.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…” Psalm 42:1-2