A few weeks ago, my son married the love of his life. What a privilege to behold! Ben and Jaclyn, in the presence of God and a few family members and friends, made a covenant vow to unite as one, husband and wife. Honestly, as a mom, I’m still smiling over this incredibly beautiful and special event.
Unity is something special.
Ben and Jaclyn married under unusual circumstances. They married knowing that they would enjoy only a short time together and then be separated for a number of weeks. By this time next month, they should be together for good and the separation will surely become a distant memory. Yet for now, the longing for unity, to be together, is intense.
Have you ever longed for something? I’m not talking about the desire for ice cream or chips or chocolate. Rather I’m referring to a deep longing, a lament for connection that consumes your whole being.
As I ponder and pray, my mind wanders over to David and one of his psalms:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. Psalm 63:1-3
David longs, thirsts, faints for God. In his Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis refers to David’s longing as “an appetite for God.” Hmmm. I can’t help but wonder, “Am I hungry for God?” Do I long for Him as David?
Let’s look a little closer. First, David’s emotive cry affirms his trust in a faithful Covenant God:
O God, you are my God
And then, he simultaneously expresses his passionate longing for God:
Earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you.
And since David wrote this Psalm while in the wilderness of Judah, certainly, the harsh and parched conditions set up David’s imagery:
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Life sometimes looks like that.
Although only a mere thirty minutes, I once enjoyed the firsthand experience of seeing the Judean wilderness. As I stood overlooking the expanse, I wept. Uncontrollably.
I cried, “Oh Lord! This is it. This is what the wilderness feels like!”
Truly, the Judean wilderness depicts the reality of life’s often wilderness experience. Harsh. Seemingly endless. Lonely. A rocky climb through trials of many kinds. A place where one longs for God.
In his Psalm, the harshness of the terrain highlights David’s thirst. He misses God. Then, he remembers being in the sanctuary:
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
The ESV Study Bible suggests that David misses his experience of God in public worship:
“The sanctuary is the place of corporate worship, and God’s glory is his special presence with his people, which is given and enjoyed in the sanctuary.
So then, in the wilderness, far from the sanctuary, David felt far from God’s presence. He was also far from the camaraderie of praising God together with fellow believers.
Friend, that strikes a chord in my heart. Over and over again in this new ministry role, women are sharing how they long to connect. Long for real relationship… with God and with other women. We were not made to walk through the wilderness, the valley of the shadow of death, alone. We are meant for connection, with God and one another.
Would you agree?
Wherever you are, whatever your longings, I encourage you to find a body of believers that will inspire and strengthen you to behold God.
If you are nearby, please consider joining our Gospel of John SIMPLY BIBLE STUDY. (You may purchase the workbook HERE.) We welcome you to our “living room,” a safe “place” in our church where women come together to look at God’s Word and marvel at His glory. John’s testimony will offer us just such an opportunity. He provides eyewitness testimony of who Jesus Christ is:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Nowhere near Northeast Ohio? No worries! Find a local body near you. Or find a friend and consider connecting to our ONLINE STUDY.
Our vision is to see women growing in Christ and growing in friendship with one another. Let’s link arms and hearts. I long for unity with Christ and others, to share the journey through the wilderness and to praise Him in His sanctuary.
Already signed up? In the comments below, share your own longing and anticipation for the study to come. I love hearing from you!