As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
For many years on Sunday mornings, before anyone else arrived, it would be just Donna (our organist) and myself upstairs in the sanctuary. She would be practicing the organ or looking through music. I would be turning on the lights and adjusting the thermostat and getting my papers in order. This was a time when I would often get a "Donna Lecture" on healing herbs or the evils of sugar. Sometimes I would distract her by asking her to play a hymn from the hymnal I was not familiar with. I was always on the lookout for new songs we could sing.
One such hymn was #401 in, "The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration." It is simply titled, "Psalm 42." I was completely unfamiliar with the hymn and so I asked Donna to play it for me. It immediately became one of my favorite hymns.
Although separated in our Bibles, Psalms 42 and 43 are actually a single Psalm. They share a common refrain repeated twice in 42 and at the end of 43. It is a Psalm of lament, mourning the apparent absence of God and God's blessings. "As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God." Later, in 42:9, the Psalm asks of God, "Why have you forsaken me?"
But then there is that repeated refrain which says, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God." Yes, the Psalm is saying, today I thirst for God, but just as God has quenched my thirst in the past, so will God again. I believe that spirit is captured beautifully in the hymn.
Perhaps you need such assurance. Amidst the struggles and chaos of our world today, do you long for the flowing streams of God? Ponder these words or listen to this hymn here.
As the hart longs for flowing streams,
So longs my soul for You, O God.
My soul does thirst for the living God.
When shall I come to see Your face?
My tears have fed me day and night,
While men have said, "Where is your God?"
But I recall as my soul pours dry
The days of praise within Your house.
Why do I mourn and toil within,
When it is mine to hope in God?
I shall again sing praise to Him,
He is my help, He is my God.
May your week be blessed with the flowing streams of God.
Worship This Week
Thursday, July 16, 6:30pm, on the north sidewalk
Sunday, July 19, 9am in the Peace Garden and on Facebook Live
If you choose to join us in person, please wear a mask and practice social distancing
Keep In Prayer:
Lorrie Watkins; Our shut-ins: Harriett Ryerson, Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne