As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God (Psalm 42:1, NKJV).
I’ve spotted an occasional deer in my lifetime, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen one panting for water. I have, however, seen quite a few dogs panting for a drink, and even a few horses. With sides heaving as the animals long for water, the most basic necessity for sustaining life, they are the picture of the way we should long for God. But do we?
There have been times in my life when situations seemed so desperate and impossible that I truly did long for God that way. I had exhausted myself in trying to fix the problem and had finally come to the point where I knew only God—the most basic necessity of sustaining both physical and spiritual life—could save or deliver me. I hungered and thirsted for God, clinging to Him with my fingernails. And when He graciously met my need and sustained my life, I was certain I would never again be so presumptuous as to try to handle any aspect of my existence on my own.
But just as there are tough times in each of our lives, there are easy times too. Apart from the everyday challenges of fulfilling the tasks laid before us, we have no serious struggle going on…and so we tend to forget those times of desperation and begin to depend on ourselves once again. And that’s a much more dangerous place to be than panting after God when we have finally come to the end of ourselves.
Today, beloved, whether you are in an easy place or a seemingly impossible one, ask God to turn your heart toward Him, to cause you to “pant” for Him as a deer pants for water. Hanging on to God by our fingernails is infinitely wiser and more secure than trying to waltz through life without Him.