Over the course of this past month I have experienced a wide variety of emotions, but the biggest emotion I have felt is loneliness. This is actually an emotion I am super unfamiliar with. As a people person living in a college town for the past five years I have always had someone to spend time with, whether that be my roommates, music friends, or church friends. But now that I am home in Cincinnati for the time being my environment has changed drastically. My neighbors are no longer good friends, but horses and corn fields. While this may seem like a nice place to get away, and it can be for me sometimes, it is also super lonely. However, God has been teaching me a lot through this time.
When I first began experiencing these emotions I was drained and exhausted, but I can only imagine this was a mere taste of what the Israelites experienced as they wandered through the desert for 40 years. I am also reminded of David and his time spent wandering as he hid from Saul. While he wasn’t the author of every psalm, he contributed quite a bit to this collection in scripture. Most of his entries express his deepest feelings as he struggled through many different emotions during his time fleeing. What I like most about his writings is that he doesn’t walk around the truth. He writes and even cries out to God saying things like:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” (Ps. 22:1)
“Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.” (Ps. 22:11)
“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” (Ps. 31:9-10)
What I love most about David is that through all of his struggling He still recognizes his need for God to save him and even writes about God’s greatness in the pages right after his distress. Many of us can relate to David. We have times of grief and times of joy, times of hardship and times to rejoice. David was human, he struggled just like you and me, but what we can learn from him is that through it all he still was seeking after God’s own heart.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
I love this particular entry from David. David is saying that even in dry and parched land he is still longing for God. I have learned so much from this man. Being back home and away from those I have called family for the past few years has become a sort of “desert” for me. I have felt lost and alone at times, but in the process become thirsty for God and the living water. While the journey is long through the desert, the “promised land” on the other side is worth the effort. By the time I reach my destination I will have learned so much about God’s mercy, grace, provision, guidance, and unconditional love. He is teaching me to trust Him fully to lead me through hard times and to rely on him along the way. I know he is using this time to mold me and shape me into the vessel He wants me to be.
I want to seek God in times of distress. I want to run to him in times of pain. I want to call on him when I feel lost, but that isn’t always easy. As we learn from David’s story, we are all human and fall short daily, but what makes him stick out is that he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing God. JR Vassar wrote in his book Glory Hunger:
“Don’t compromise your faith and live for momentary comfort. Don’t hide in the shadows. Don’t play it socially safe. Pay the cost of faith and live for eternal commendation. The end makes everything in the middle seem light and momentary.”
We can let loneliness, pain, and sorrow hold us back, but through Christ we have the ability to break free of that bondage and live out boldly the plan he has for us. We just need to seek him wherever life may go and continue to thirst for the only thing that will ever truly satisfy, the living water.
“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 14:4)
Living water is the remedy for your “desert”. When trouble calls, run to the well. Drench your soul with the grace of God. Let him shower you with mercy and forgiveness. He will see you through to the very end.
Thanking God today for satisfying my soul during this lonely phase. Thankful for David and the reminder that we aren’t alone in feeling distant and also thankful for his persistence through hard times and the ability to recognize a need for God through it all. Praying that we can learn from him and have a heart like his.