Longing for God and His Help in Distress
To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.
1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’
Devotion by Anne Mooney
Have you ever been lonely? So lonely you could only imagine more loneliness heaped on still more loneliness? It is a depressing way to suffer. Not only do you feel cut off from family, friends, and the possibility of friends, but God is also nowhere to be found, at least in one’s heart. All that is there is longing. Longing for connection with someone, anyone, especially God. It is a terrible thing to feel forgotten and unnecessary.
Many Biblical scholars believe this Psalm was either written by or for King David after his son Absalom attempted to take over the Kingdom from David and excluded him from the temple. David was forced to live in exile outside of Jerusalem while his son, who betrayed him, temporarily ruled the kingdom. Betrayal, loss of purpose, grief at being disconnected from loved ones, and no longer able to enter the temple to talk to God left David longing for reconnection with God.
When my daughter came to live with me about two years ago, I knew she was struggling with drug abuse, but I hadn’t let myself see the depths of her addiction. I let her continue to stay, setting boundaries about cleanliness, helpfulness, and of course, no drugs in the house. I even let her boyfriend stay in the basement believing that a safe place to live would help him get a handle on life, but eventually their addiction won out and my daughter overdosed. I was numb. I had to tell her she could not come back to my home. Then as I watched from afar as she made decisions about her lifestyle, I was angry. I felt betrayed, ineffective, and disconnected from everyone, including God. My feelings of resentment contributed to my sense of loss and isolation. It was a hard time, but through all that time, I still talked to God. I yelled at God. I was sarcastic with God. I wasn’t very nice to God, but I kept talking to God. And all those times passed, and my life got better. My daughter’s life has gotten better, too, and we have reconnected. Things have changed. God did not leave me in my anger or despair even though I felt alone.
This Psalm reminds me of times when we feel like the walls are caving in and we can’t take much more. It reminds me that even though I might not feel God, God is there. God is there when I cry, sigh, yell, and complain. I can trust God despite my feelings of betrayal, loneliness, fear, and loss. I can have hope.
Dear God, thank you for the promise within this Psalm of your comforting presence, even when I feel rejected and alone. Amen