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“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, New International Version).
When David was in the wilderness of Judah, Psalm 63 was the prayer he cried out to the Lord. Known as the Judaean Desert, its location in the West Bank lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea.
Commonly mentioned in the Old Testament, the Judaean Desert was known for its dry seasons. Today, it is still known for its vast number of ravines, plateaus, and mountains.
Are you in a Dry Season?
Unlike David, I have never been in a physical desert. I have never walked upon earth that thirsts for rain because it hasn’t rained in forty years. I have never crossed the ravines and plateaus of the highest peaks to reach a mountain.
Yet, I am in a season of wilderness right here and now.
One where I feel dry and constantly thirsty.
One where my mind runs a marathon day after day, but my body is standing still.
One where my emotions are high and my physical moods are low.
One where I drink gallons of water, but I still feel empty.
Because in a season of wilderness, you can cry out for God but often feel the heat of the desert in reply.
Because in a season of wilderness, you can crave spiritual milk and food but only taste the sour drips of raindrops and spoiled manna.
I assume I am not the only one to feel this way.
To grow discouraged and have trouble seeing when the rain will ever come to your dry land.
Yet, in this single verse, David helps me to remember and acknowledge three things amid the drought:
- God is my God.
- I earnestly search for Him.
- My soul thirsts for Him with my whole body.
- God is my God.
- In the middle of a dry place, it can be challenging to see anything else. When I was in college, I remember getting eczema on my skin. It was so dry and flakey, I felt like my skin was going to peel off. I hated looking in the mirror because all I saw was a red, acne-filled, and skinning complexion.
- It was not until I got the proper medication and treatment for my skin that I was able to see things for what they were. The soothing lotion prescribed did wonders, and when the dry flakes stopped, I could finally align my vision. But what do we do when the dry spell only continues to worsen? How do we seek God from within that place, not just once we are on the other side?
- Acknowledging that God is our personal, close, caring, and intimate Lord and Savior reminds us that He is not only the God of the mountain but the valley. He is the God of dry seasons and wetlands. Jesus Christ is someone who went forty days and forty nights in a wilderness of His own, so surely He knows what it is like when we go through those times, too. And He longs to care for us when we are both in and out of those seasons.
- As Proverbs 18:24 of the Easy Read Version notes, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, Easy Read Version). Jesus is a Savior who cares for us, and He is that friend! Even when the sandstorm gets in our eyes and we struggle to see that He is with us, He is still our God. My God. Your God. Our personal Savior and friend.
2. I earnestly search for Him.
- Once we have acknowledged that God is personal to us, we then must remind ourselves to never stop searching for Him.
- As someone who loves adventure and spontaneity, treasure and scavenger hunts are a thrill I will love until I die. One thing I do not like about adventure, however, is searching for something in an area that I am unfamiliar with. It only takes a moment to go from excited to scared when an alien alley turns sketchy, and the sun goes down on a lost and foreign road. When we are in the middle of a dry season, it can be easy to see the road ahead of us like this situation: strange, scary, and unapproachable. Yet, Christ tells us that when we continue to search for Him with all of our hearts, despite our circumstances, He will surely answer us.
- “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:13-14, English Standard Version).
- Psalm 63:1 reminds us that when we search for God, we may really be in a parched and weary land where there is no water. But though we are in a dry place, we can be encouraged to not lose hope. We must earnestly and actively search for Him. As Isaiah 26:9 parallels, the word search or seek is what Scripture means when it says, “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9, English Standard Version).
- To search or seek (šāhar)m is what we are called to, even if that simply means crying out to Him in a desert, or saying to God it is dry and I need to know rain is coming. Like Elijah, it is okay to ask the Lord to hear a storm coming, even if it is just the slightest thunder or crack of lightning (1 Kings 18:41-19:8). “The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” (1 Kings 18:44, New International Version). It is okay to hope for rain when you have been paralyzed in a dry season.
3. My soul thirst for God; my whole body longs for Him.
- Only after we have acknowledged who God is and searched for Him can we thirst for Him with all of our beings. Though we are in a dry place, and we recognize this, it is crucial that we thirst for God using our body, mind, soul, and strength. Thirsting for Him with all that we are requires a bio-psycho-social-emotional-relational process. It demands that we admit we are parched. We are weary. No water is in sight. Yet, thirsting for Him when there is nothing left brings us great hope.
- Today, we will choose to thirst for Christ alone. We will turn to Him above all else, and ask Him to fill us when we are empty. One cannot pour from an empty cup, and David knew this.
- David was in a physically dry place, the wilderness of Judah. But perhaps like me, you are in a spiritually dry place needing relief that only the Lord can bring. Let this be an encouragement to you today that though we see no water, no fig-trees, blooms, or blossoms (Habakkuk 3:17-19), we can trust in the faithfulness of who God is to know that we will see rain, flowers, and prosperous fields yet again. For:
- “I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting my hands to you in prayer” (Psalm 63:2-4, New International Version).
The Dry Season Won’t Last Forever
In the middle of a drought, it can feel like the rain will never come. It is easy to seep into pessimistic thoughts and impending shadows of doom. But let it be said that we have seen God move then, and He is the same God to move now. His love alone is better than the lives we struggle to live. He surely knows what we need.
Therefore, we will praise Him even as we wait for rain. In prayer and thanksgiving, even when it feels fake, our souls will trust God amid the dryness. More than anything and anyone else, He is the well we are looking for. He is the helper who will send the rain in due time.
“You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 63:5-7, New Living Translation).
From within the darkness.
Within the heat that hangs us out to dry.
Let us cling to Christ alone and never grow weary.
Do not give up the fight.
Let us know that even in the end, the dry seasons, enemies, and struggles will cease as the floodgates of His promises rain from the skies.
“I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced” (Psalm 63:8-11, New Living Translation).