With the beginning of every New Year many of us have the tradition of writing down what we would like to change, what we would like to improve, where we would like to go, or what we would like to achieve.We grab our pen and scribble down this exhaustive list on what many of us call a ‘New Year’s Resolution.’ I’ve done this, as perhaps many of you reading this blog have also done; but what are we really hoping to see happen? How many of those dreams, desires, changes, goals have we actually seen come to fruition? How many checkboxes can we fill in? What is really most important?
I remember strapping on my running shoes and being bused out on a cold starlight morning in Big Sur California. Part of me had no desire to be there knowing the elements I would face, but the other part of me, the part that endured endless hours of training and preparation, longed for this day and couldn’t wait for it to come soon enough. As I got off the bus with the sunrise still far off I reminded myself why I was running 26.2 miles; that feeling of accomplishment once I crossed the finish line.
One of many things that had been said of this particular marathon was the lack of crowds cheering you on and the shortage of water stops along the way. Either of these situations can have a huge effect on the performance of any athlete. The interaction of a crowd encouraging, clapping and yelling compels you to take the next step and find it in yourself to keep going. Another important requirement for any athlete is that all-too-familiar need in life itself…a cool glass of water to quench your growing thirst with every passing mile. I remember longing to see that next water station around every turn in the course and often being disappointed, having to run another mile or two to find what my body was craving for.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” – Psa 42:1
Here we find a King who experienced hardships that many of us will never face in a lifetime. A shepherd hunted by a King no longer accepted by God, a father betrayed by his own son for his throne, a man fallen to sin and temptation only to be punished by the death of his child…and the list goes on. Can you see him etching these words on tear-covered parchment comparing his longing for God to a deer at death’s doorstep looking for what its body needs most?
I read these words and know how short I fall in both my desire to know and love God, but I also maintain a hope that He is ready to pour out all my soul could ever possibly want or desire of Him. Is there anything wrong with trying to be healthy and set weight loss goals to fit in those new pair of pants? Of course not, we need to take care of the temple God has given us. Although those weight loss goals or New Year resolutions are good things to strive for, they cannot distract us from what holds ultimate ‘life giving’ value. We need to keep David’s words at the forefront of our hearts and minds to both guard and remind us of life’s true priorities.
What is our response when it comes to all that life throws at us?
Do we thirst after God more than the weight loss goal we’ve set for ourselves?
Do we thirst after God more than the shame and guilt we experience after falling to sin and temptation?
Psalm 43 continues David’s plea for God with these beautiful words, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”
May the year of 2015 be one in which you thirst for the Lord and see Him meet that heart-need in overflowing ways!