As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O, God."
A popular worship song has increased public familiarity with Psalm 42. The interpretation of the song is often so mellow, it may evoke the image of a deer grazing contentedly in a green meadow, studded with yellow flowers, then meandering to take a sip from a nearby stream; but is that really what this Psalm describes?
The deer in Psalm 42 is panting for the water. Perhaps it has been chased by hunters or has been grazing in the woodland and hasn't had a drink for some time. This deer is very thirsty, perhaps even desperate, for a long, cool drink of life giving water to refresh and re-hydrate. Its survival depends on consistent access to pure water.
Just as the deer, and we too, need access to water to survive, so our spirits depend on the living presence and truth of God to stay spiritually alive. As our hearts commune with the Divine, we are strengthened and healed to face life's challenges, as well as our ordinary routines, which at times can be even more draining than the momentary crisis.
Whether you are literally putting your life on the line to defend your family and fellow citizens or spend your days pushing papers, or wiping noses and changing diapers, if you are contributing to the safety, well being or quality of life on earth for yourself and others who also have the spark of divine life within them, you deserve the strength only God can give to do your work each day. If not, you need his wisdom and courage to find another life path, where you can serve with a pure heart and a clean conscience. Don't live parched and dry. Follow your thirst and ask God to give you living water that never fails to refresh, cleanse and satisfy the thirsty spirit.
Perhaps the mellow song suggests the state of peace we can find when we spend time in God's presence. Be sure to watch the video to hear the lovely voiced Cadet sisters inspiring version of "As the Deer."
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