Getting through the wilderness

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you: my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. -Psalm 63:1 NLT

 

Dry. Hot. Weary. Thirsty. Oh, so thirsty.

 

I have never been or had the desire to go to a desert. However, I know what it’s like to be really dry and thirsty on a hot summer’s day. All I want at this point is a very large glass of water. Until I get one, I complain about the heat and the thirst and fuss about things until I get that glass of water.

When I finally get a glass of water. I guzzle it down instead of sipping. I don’t enjoy it. I am just desperate to be hydrated. I’m so thirsty, I don’t’ savour the water. I just get it down my throat. Usually what happens is I feel sick because I drank too fast.

David knew what it was like to be hot and thirsty. He was in the wilderness of Judah for quite a while when he hid from Saul. The wilderness was a desert. The place was hot and barren. David felt physical thirst as he walked day in and day out finding places to hide in order to save his life.
David penned the words of our scripture today. “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). Yes, David wrote from a physical need, but he also had a spiritual need.

There are times in our lives when we feel as if we are wandering in our own personal deserts. We call out to God and he seems so far away. The enemy attacks and we feel powerless. We long for God’s presence. We search for him. We call out to him, longing for his living water. Sometimes we feel as if he is so far away we could never reach out to him.

David spent his time in the wilderness praising God. Even during insomnia, David declares, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely” (Psalm 63:6-8).

I didn’t get anywhere fussing and complaining about the heat and being thirsty. In fact, I made myself more thirsty by constantly opening my gob. The same is true during our times in the wilderness. We don’t get anywhere by complaining about our situation. The Israelites ended up in the desert for 40 years instead of the 11 days it should have taken them to get to the promised land by complaining.

What are we missing out on by complaining in the wilderness? Could it be our time in the wilderness is made longer due to our complaints?

Jesus understands what we are going through. He spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness after he was baptised. During that time he didn’t eat. He didn’t spend the time groaning about his hunger, but instead, he spent it talking to his Father.

We need to take the time to nourish our souls by giving praise to the Lord. Let us remember all the good he has done in our lives up to now. David did this. “I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy” (Psalm 63:2-5).

Instead of complaining, praise the Lord. Rest under the shadow of God’s wings. He is walking with you and is beside you even if you don’t sense him there.

Don’t give up! You will get through this! When God gives you his living water, yes, drink deeply. But savour every mouthful. Your soul will be satisfied. You will get to the other side. But for now, just keep holding on and moving forward.

Prayer: God, I am struggling in the wilderness. I am dry. I am thirsty. I am frustrated. There are times I feel you are so far away. Please let me know your presence today. I am sorry for complaining about my circumstances. I choose today to give you praise. I want my eyes to be on you. I want you to walk with me through this time in the desert. I am trusting you to get me through. And when I do, may I savour your living water. May I enjoy your presence. May I enjoy you and not rush through just to get to the next thing in life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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