As the Deer

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“As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Ps. 42:1 ESV

Last week in our home group we explored this scripture as we discussed what it means to be desperate for God.

For years this has been one of my favorite verses, and I have often sung the song “As the Deer”.  The picture I had in my mind’s eye was a serene wooded setting with cute little deer prancing along as they took a leisurely drink from the gently flowing stream.

I now have a new picture.

In preparation for our discussion I went online and found a sermon by Richard Francis, (   Francis says that he pictures a “dehydrated creature emancipated dragging itself across a desert desperately in search of a muddy wetness desperate for water, clinging to life and nothing seeming to quench the thirst, nothing.”

When I read his words I had an “ah ha” moment, and immediately saw the scripture in a different light.  The deer were too thirsty and desperate to prance.  Their thirst was so acute that they could barely move.  They were desperate for water, any type of liquid, which could quench their thirst. 

Have you ever been that desperate for God?deer pants

Before last Wednesday evening, I would have said yes; however, I don’t know that my desperation for the Living God has ever been that great.

The deer was panting.  Think of a long walk on a hot day or climbing several flights of stairs.  We may not pant as an animal would, but we are breathing heavily and want a cool drink of water to bring refreshment to our bodies. 

But still, are we desperate?  Do we feel that if we don’t get the cool drink of water we will not survive?

I believe the deer in Ps. 42 was beyond the point of desperation for water.  It was a matter of survival for the deer.  The deer would settle for any moisture in order to quench its thirst, even muddy waters from a stagnant pool.

 What am I substituting for real desperation in my relationship with God?  If I am satisfied with the “stagnant waters”, I will never know true desperation.

Ps 42:2 says “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”. 

 It is only through intentional relationship with the Living God that my thirst can be satisfied. 

How can I be intentional in my relationship?  Is it through bible study and bible reading?  Church attendance?  Attending a home group?  Raising my hands when songs are sung in a church service?

While those things may play a part in my intentional relationship with God, they don’t mean I am desperate for Him.

I see myself as being desperate when like the deer in the picture, I plunge my face into His very being, soaking up all He has to offer me.  When nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important than being with Him, that is the beginning of desperation. 

Father, thank you for showing me that I am not truly desperate for you.  I yield myself to you, and ask you to draw me ever closer to you.  Teach me, Lord, to be desperate for you and you alone.

“O God, You are my God; earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint to You, in a dry and weary land, where no water is.”  Ps. 63:1 Amplified

 “Wait and listen, ever one who is thirsty!  Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!  Yes, come, buy priceless [spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].  Isa. 55:1 Amplified

“Now on the final and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood forth and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!  He who believes in Me – who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me – as the Scripture has said, Out from his innermost being springs and rivers of living water shall flow (continuously).  John 7: 37-38 Amplified