Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 63 says,
O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you
my throat thirsts for you
my body longs for you
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water (v. 1).
One summer day, my brother and I hiked two-and-a-half miles on a dusty gravel road to the top of a hill. Lunch with a view. Bologna-lettuce-and-mayonnaise sandwiches with a drink of milk, some of which I saved for the thirsty trip home. Sitting on the hill, we enjoyed a fourteen mile view of patchwork prairie farmland: squares of green wheat growing, fields of brilliant yellow canola,and fields of black soil lying fallow in the sun.
On the hot road home, my brother said, “Hey, did you save some milk?” I took out my bottle, swished the milk around, smelled it and said, “It’s gone sour.” And I poured it out on the ground. My brother said, “Hey, I’m thirsty. I wanted that!”
I tell this story not to comment on my brotherly kindness, but to offer a perspective on thirst. The poet in Psalm 63 experienced his relationship to God as extreme thirst and physical longing.
Our father, we understand the poet’s dry and weary land where there is no water. Like a hot gravel road under the prairie sun without even sour milk to drink. We long for your presence, but we feel the dryness of your absence. We look for you, but cannot find you. Are you present to us in the sun that burns our face? In the dust that chokes our throat? In the vast blue sky without shade or rain?
Like the poet, we have seen your power and glory in the sanctuary. When you shone your light on us at a life-changing conference. When we felt your presence in a church that nurtured our spiritual growth. When someone’s kindness helped us feel your deep deep love. But today you are absent. We are stuck in the desert where the only water is a mirage and the only comfort a memory of how things used to be.
With the poet we treasure our memories. When your presence filled our hearts. When your spirit quenched our thirst. When your love washed away our sorrows and sins.
With the poet we say, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will praise you . . . I will lift up my hands in your name” (v. 3-4). This is our gravel-road statement of faith. In our thirst, we speak your praise with parched lips; we shelter under your unseen wings, we think of you in our sleepless hours at night (vv. 4, 6, 7). Our life is desert until your river flows through it. Our spirit is empty until you fill it. Our days are wasted until we voice your praise.
With the poet we sing as we travel the dusty road of life. We sing with lifted hands, we sing in the shadow of your wings, we sing of love that watches over us at night and upholds us in the day. We sing of living water that quenches our thirst.
O God, receive our song. Show us the way on our thirsty journey. Lead us to rivers of life.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.