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Hungering and Thirsting

When we’re hungering and thirsting, it’s painful. The pangs we experience are agonizing, deep, and desperate. We have a conscious awareness that we are in serious need of being filled and finding satisfaction.

Hungering and thirsting for righteousness isn’t merely some passing whim, fleeting thought, or temporary desire. It’s not as if we think, Oh, that sounds good . . . I might get around to that someday. That’s not hungering and thirsting; that’s toying. What we’re talking about here is being famished—hurting from the sense that our own resources are completely dried up. We deeply hunger and thirst for God, the only One who can bring satisfaction.

David described this experience in Psalm 42:1, 2: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” He wrote it in the wilderness of Judea. I can’t help but think he was hunting, maybe tracking a deer. When he finally got a view of the deer through the wilderness, he could tell the deer was exhausted from running in the hunt. Below the deer’s feet was a brook, and the animal wanted nothing more than just to bend down and lap up some of that refreshing, life-giving water.

As David lifted his bow, getting ready to catch his dinner, something went off in his head and heart. He thought, That’s how I feel toward God. Oh my gosh—that panting and longing, that desperation for refreshing, cool, life-giving water! What you want, deer, is what my spirit cries out for! I think that deer got off the hook that day. You want to know what it is to hunger and thirst after God? It’s right there in this picture. It’s having a heart that says, “Just as a deer pants for water, my soul pants for the living God. I am desperate for more of Him and want more than anything to come into His presence.”

Do you hunger and thirst for more of God? Do you ache to know His heart better and hear His voice? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Steve Berger is Senior Pastor at Grace Chapel Leipers Fork. His latest book is Have Heart: Bridging the Gap Between Heave and Earth. He has also written several books specifically for small groups and individual use.

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