Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent, Deer, and King David



This morning as I began to get out of bed to make sure that the kids got off to school, my only intention seemed to be to go back to sleep. After a long night of sickness and distress, my aching and tired body had no desire for prayer or worship. All I could feel in my future was tucking myself back between the covers and drifting back into the luxurious warmth of oblivion. Reluctantly I rose from my bed and pulled out my prayer book and began to read a Psalm. Usually I sing a song, but this morning I skipped it (at first) and decided to rush through and get it over with, so I could crawl back between the covers.

Isn't it just like God to take our hearts and put them back where they belong? My heart was heavy with the burdens of my life, though those burdens are small and light I tend to think of them as the heaviest load, and yet the Father took this mornings Psalm and began to tighten those heart strings until I had to sing praise to Him. I began to read Psalm 42 and my heart was transported through time.

Like a deer that longs for springs of water,
  so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God:
  when shall I come and stand before the face of God?1

As I began to read those words, my mind began to dwell on the Advent season. Here I am immersed in my daily life. Weary from the lack of rest, and sickness that has dwelt in my mind for the past few hours and yet my troubles are so far from where they could be. King David had been forced to flee from the kingdom by Saul and was unable to go back to the tent for worship. This young man, who was blessed by God was unable to go  and worship at all! Though he could worship in his heart, and rightly did; the Ark was in the tent and there with it the very presence of God.

Does our soul long for the living God? Does it thirst like the deer for water? Do we rise in the morning and fill our stomachs with drink and sustenance from a mortal source or the living well that will never leave us thirsty again? For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.2  How much do we think of that very fact? That one day we will see God face to face, even as we see each other? Does our soul thirst for the living God? Who died for us that we might live?

My tears are my food, by day and by night,.... 
I remember how I went up to your glorious dwelling-place
and into the house of God:
the memory melts my soul.3

We often take for granted that we are free to go to our churches almost any hour of the day. While the necessities of our world require many of them to be locked (not to keep people from going in, but to prevent theft and destruction, such a shame); most priests and pastors will gladly open them for worship and praise. Do we remember with longing and tears when we are unable to do so? Do we call out to God asking that He bring us back into fellowship when our hearts are troubled and our spirit weak? How much more did I prefer to the thought of going back to sleep this morning, than the intention of offering up praise and worship! My heart should have rather been on God and His house! The eternal union between man and God!

My Lord and my God, give me a heart that melts when I think of being in your presence! Help my soul to thirst for your Spirit as the deer thirsts for water! Help me to rise in the morning with only you on my mind and my lips! That I might sing praise to you, and worship you without expectation of return! Help me to call out to you as David did, in his distressing times, "Put your hope in the Lord, I will praise him still, my saviour and my God!"4 Help us to remember during this season of Advent, that You were born into this world, that You are coming again, and that You are also already here with us! Bring this mystery to the forefront of our minds, that we may live our entire lives in glorious expectation of the day we will see You face to face!

In Christ,

Brian


1. Psalm 42:1,2 
2. 1 Corinthians 13:12 
3. Psalm 42:3, 4 
4. Psalm 42:11