Devotional | Jenny Sabiston | Jan 21, 2024
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42:1-2
As the deer panteth for the waterSo my soul longeth after TheeYou alone are my heart's desireAnd I long to worship Thee
I remember being a young girl in church and hearing the worship leader sing these lyrics. “Panteth” is not a common word, so it always struck me as kind of an odd song. However, as I thought about this verse recently, I was struck with a new understanding.
Have you ever been thirsty? Really thirsty? Like cannot wait until the next checkpoint in a race or gas station along the road trip? Your mouth is dry, and it feels tough to swallow. When this happens, it is hard to focus on anything else until you can quench your thirst. I am admittedly bad at drinking water … more of a coke and coffee girl. I really want to be someone who carries a cute water bottle around and refills it throughout the day, but so far this has not been successful. I can, however, tell when I have deprived my body of water and need to rehydrate.
The writer of this Psalm compares a deer’s thirst for flowing water to his own thirst for God. The deer needs the water for survival. Thirst here is more than just needing a sip of water, but instead, is a desperate need for something vital. He is expressing an intense desire to know God … desperate for him.
It made me stop and ask myself, do I thirst for God in this way? Do I have a deep and intense desire to know God more, or am I satisfied with just a sip?
In so many seasons of my life, I admittedly have been content with just a sip. I am fine saying a quick prayer, reading the verse of the day, doing the “right things,” practicing kindness. Before long, I am going through the motions and not consciously filling my thoughts and mind with actual truth. If we are not careful, it can be easy to go about our everyday ignoring our need for Christ. We ignore his wisdom and direction. We take things into our own hands. We seek to control. When we do this, we become spiritually dehydrated.
What would it look like if Christ alone were my heart’s desire? If I had a deep desire to know him and worship him as a result? That I would long to be near him, to talk to him, to surrender it all to him? I want to challenge you to ask, “What in my life needs to change, so Christ is the desire of my heart? What do I need to start or stop doing, so Christ is who I long for above all else?”
As we refocus our thoughts and minds to desire Jesus and all he has done for us, may our hearts’ response be to worship our king—the One we cannot survive without, the One who satisfies our souls.
Jesus, would you give us the desire to know you more? Would you remind us we are desperate for you and that only you can satisfy? Deepen our love for you and reveal to us where we need to lay down our own desires and surrender all to you.
Jenny SabistonPastor, Central Ministry Support - Kids & Students
Jenny Sabiston has been on staff at Crossings for over five years. She works as a Pastor on the Central Ministry Team supporting Kids and Students across all of our locations. She can be found drinking McDonalds’ Coke or Vanilla Lattes, reading a good book, or chasing her three boys.
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