07/26/17 As the Deer

READING: Psalms 40-42, Acts 27:1-26

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Psalm 42:2

Some years ago, I led a student mission trip to Ghana in West Africa.  For several days, we went far into the country, and we had little access to any means to connect with folks at home. It was the longest time that Pam had been apart without at least faxing (I’m old. . . ), phoning, or emailing. While I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with national believers in another country, I still missed Pam. A lot.

At the end of the trip, the students and I gathered to reflect on the trip. Student after student told us how God had taught them, challenged them, blessed them, or convicted them. When my turn to speak came, here’s generally what I remember saying: “During those days when we were out in the country, I really, really missed Pam. At least when we have email or phone coverage, I can ‘hear’ her voice figuratively in email and literally via the phone. Just hearing her voice brings me joy and comfort – and I missed her voice those days. When I reflect on that time, I sensed God’s asking me, ‘Do you remember that time that you missed Pam so much—the time when you wanted to hear from her and talk to her? Do you ever miss me like that when you go through the days without reading my Word or talking to me?

That question was more convicting than I care to admit. I was forced to confess that I didn’t always so long for God that I never missed reading the Bible and praying every day. At the time, I could not have honestly said with the psalmist, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psa. 42:1-2). The psalmist’s longing for God was evident in his desire to worship at the sanctuary again, and his desire was deep and intense; indeed, he poured out his thirsty soul to the Lord.

Since that trip to West Africa, I have cried out to the Lord on many days, “Lord, make me long for You today. Make my heart pant for You.” Would you join me in praying that prayer for me today?   


  • Be grateful for your opportunities to gather with God’s people to worship.
  • Please say a prayer for me today.

PRAYER: “God, make me long for You above everything else.”

TOMORROW’S READING:  Psalms 43-45, Acts 27:27-44