The Needy Soul

“As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

Psalm 42:1.

There he is standing in the middle of the stream chest heaving and heart thumping like a runaway train. His wide and wild-eyed look scours every foot of ground around him but there’s no sign of them. Maybe he finally shook them off but his legs are throbbing and weary from miles covered at breakneck speed, his ribs are aching from the pressure of lungs expanded to their limit in sucking in great gulps of air, his throat is on fire and his mouth though foam-flecked is absolutely parched. He can wait no longer, danger or not he must find the nearest stream and drink or die.

The long chase, the fierce pack, the cunning way they pursued, always keeping him running full tilt with a single leader dog while the rest waited until he tired and then they’d take over. This time he outwitted or outran them but the strain and the effort has been close to overwhelming. He pants for water. No sipping, no little desire but a desperate and unquenchable thirst. He finds the stream and sinks his muzzle in the ice-cold water and swallows it down in big life-giving gulps.

That’s the picture the psalmist paints for us in Psalm 42:1. “As the deer pants for the flowing stream so my soul longs after you.”

There he is, pursued by enemies, hemmed in by circumstances beyond his control, his strength almost gone, the effort to stay on his feet has worn him down and driven him to the edge of the abyss. He must find God.

“My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’”


As the deer at the limit of his endurance instinctively knows he must find water so this little human knows he must find God for it’s only in God he has reason to hope! He tests every offer of help with the question: “Will it help me to find God?”

“Here, here is good advice and counsel.”

Will it help me to find God?

“Here, here is an offer of friendship.”

Will it help me see the face of God?

“Here, here is a place you can run to.”

Will I find God there?

“Here, here is a book you should read, a movie you should see, a seminar you should attend, a habit you should develop.”

Will they bring me to God?

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

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