I often read the familiar verses and wonder about them. How can someone desire God so strongly?
- As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God (Psalm 42:1).
- My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:2)
- O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is (Psalm 63:1).
- My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God (Psalm 84:2).
- I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land (Psalm 143:6).
I used to think something was wrong with me. Why didn’t I feel thirsty? Why didn’t I desire God like the psalmists? Why wasn’t I thirsty like dry ground? What was wrong?
And then, I discovered the secret of thirst!
It’s the secret many healthy people know: the more you drink, the more you feel thirsty. If you begin drinking the recommended eight glasses a day, you notice when you're thirsty. Whereas before, you never felt the need for water, now your body tells you.
A young woman asked the question, “Shouldn’t the desire (for the Bible and prayer and a closer walk with God) just naturally flow from us?”
Shouldn’t we thirst just because we’re Christians?
I think it’s like drinking. We should want more water. We need more water in our bodies. But we don’t feel the need until we start to drink.
It’s the same spiritually. When we start to read our Bibles, study God’s Word, communicating with Him, it’s amazing: we start to desire Him! We want more and more and more of Him. That’s what the psalmists are expressing!
Have you ever been in love? Oh my! You think about that man all day long. You bask in his presence. You can hardly wait to talk to each other again. You melt before his beautiful smile. You love everything about him. You would do anything for him. You want him.
That’s thirst. That’s what it’s like to thirst for God.
The Bible invites you. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price (Isaiah 55:1).
So, here are a few suggestions for developing your thirst:
- Read your Bible. Read it for understanding and not only to complete a chapter-reading goal. Read it like you’re mining for treasure.
- Pray before you read, asking God to open your mind and heart to His message for you. Read until you find it. (I think it’s helpful to read in the New Testament and Old Testament simultaneously. Sometimes the golden nugget will be in one, and sometimes in the other. There are some excellent Bible reading plans that include Psalms and Proverbs each day, as well.)
- Pray after you read. Prayer includes: worshiping God, expressing your needs, asking God to bless others, and resting in His will. (See the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13.)
- Listen. Take some time to be still after you’ve said amen.
Your time with God each day will eventually become the highlight of your day. It will create a thirst for God within you. It won’t happen overnight. It might not even happen this year. But it will happen!
Do you want to desire God?
Get drinking! You’ll get thirsty.