“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
One day, I found a beautiful picture of a desert via Google Image Search:
I thought, “this is a really beautiful desert”! But then another voice in my mind says, “it wouldn’t be so beautiful to you if you’re actually in the picture, in that desert.” I guess that’s true. After all, the photographer probably chose the “best” part of the desert to show us. Actually suffering all the desert heat, all the dryness, all the exhaustion, all the frustration that you don’t see beyond the desert over the horizon, you wouldn’t be able to see any beauty in the desolation.
Come to think of it, while we have great times in our lives, often times we’re toiling in the dry monotony of our life, going through the growing pains of our character, silenting bearing pains and hurts that no one knows, and battling sins and temptations from our old selves. Admittedly, my life feels very much like a desert most times.
“… in a dry and weary land where there is no water…”
The other day Dickson was leading us through a contemplative bible study. For an entire hour, we only looked at Psalm 63:1 and he asked us which word jumped out to each of us. It was obvious to me that the word “dry” jumped out to me. So he asked us to ask God why, and also ask Him for a response.
In that quiet moment last Friday night, God asked me to examine my hunger and thirst. First, He asked me not to pretend my life is all rosy and to admit that I’m actually in a desert. Second, He directed me to look again at what He offers about my thirsting and yearning:
“…I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You…”
It was clear from Psalm 63 that, yes, you’re in a desert, but, no, God is not going to take you out of the desert. However, instead of focusing your thirst on water and hunger on food that you won’t ever get in the desert, go ahead and thrist for God and hunger for God. I won’t find water and food, but if I look for Him, and look for Him earnestly, I will find Him. He’s all I need.
God continues to ask me to read Psalm 63:1 backwards:
“…O God, You are my God…”
Not only can I find God, but I can identify with God in this desert. One of the implications is that I can see things from His vantage point. When that happens, I can look back on this desert from His big-picture viewpoint, from His aerial bird’s eye view. Doing that puts me in the same position as that photographer who shot the desert picture. From that vantage point, the desert is beautiful. I can be thankful being in a desert because it motivates me to find what truly satisfies my hunger and thirst.
It’s a beautiful desert, after all.