Psalm 42 is a psalm of longing. It says As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee, and many other beautiful words of longing.
One thing to note is that the longing is not something that needs to be worked up or sought after, it simply is. So it is with our longing after God. Our souls yearn for him, even when we are not in tune with that yearning.
Our lives are incredibly busy. My husband and I talk almost every day about when our lives will be simpler. After Christmas we said, well no, but after our first big Valentines day it will get simpler, or maybe not, but surely after Holy Week things will slow down. Well not really, maybe after Josh’s graduation, no, but really after Jubilee it will all be better…except then there’s…fill in the blank for yourself…
Our lives are not simple and frankly I don’t think they are going to be simple. Ever…
I say this not to discourage you, but to say that sometimes life has to be lived in the “in betweens” I think we have to stop looking to the horizon for a return to the idyllic. Our lives are not days of labor that end neatly at five o’clock and evenings spent on the porch watching the sun set, feeling the wafting breeze and talking with passing neighbors after a leisurely dinner. Instead, our lives are seemingly endless rounds of surrender to the tyranny of the urgent.
There is however, a respite. The moments in the “in between.” For my devotional, we are going to live in one of those moments.
I am going to lead you in a meditation. Funny word meditation, it has so many negative connotations, but can really be quite powerful if you get beyond the stereotype. So take this as a moment of rest and peace.
So, first we will start with some music. Something instrumental so your thoughts are not drawn away. Get comfortable. Lay your head back and close your eyes. Take a deep breath, hold it for a second and let it out all the way down to your toes. Feel all of that breath leave you. Good. Now breath deeply, but normally.
Start with this picture. Think back to a time you spent by a lake. Its early morning and it doesn’t even hurt that you are up at the crack of dawn. You put on your favorite hoodie sweatshirt, grab a warm cup of your favorite beverage and head out to the dock. You sneak out the door so that you don’t disturb the family. You are completely alone in the silence. The morning fog chases your feet as you walk. The loons cry somehow adds to the stillness instead of taking it away. Your steps on the old dock creek as only old, worn wood can. Your fingers are warming around your cup. The sip warms your insides and you feel it all the way down, warmth spreads through you. You sit at the end of dock and your tennies nearly brush the surface of the water. The new sun shines on your face, it is so real in the stillness, you feel it like a caress on your cheek. As you sit there, stillness fills your whole being…and you hear these words.
I have loved you with an everlasting love.
I have called you by name and you are mine.
The deepest places in me, call out to the deepest places in you.
I am with you
I will be your light, when all around you is darkness
Put your hope in me when despair plagues your steps
I am loving
I am faithful
I am your strength when your own strength fails
I will comfort you when life betrays you
I will be your shelter when you are alone
I knit you together and put myself in the very fabric of your being. You are made like me… You are made by me… and you are made for me… and I love you.
Your eyes open to the light of the full dawn. You don’t even know when they closed. You sigh and listen to the last lingering notes of the music you didn’t know you were hearing.
Your soul is filled. The longing is stilled.
You have lived in the moment “in between” and God has met you there.
One of the things that inspired this devotional was a quick conversation I heard between Jon and Pastor Carl. They were talking about how hard it is to still your mind enough to “Be still and know that he is God.” And I wanted to share with you one of the ways that I use to find that stillness in the brief moments that life allows us. I hope you found a moment.