As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
It is interesting that as we read Psalm 42, it is obvious that writer is going through some difficult situations. He makes statements like, “My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ (v.3); “My soul is cast down within me” (v.6); and “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me?’” (v.9). So what is the writer’s response to adversity? “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (vv.1-2). The psalmist longs to see God, to be with God, to be done with this crummy world and enter into the glorious presence of the living God. The psalmist does not fear death, he welcomes it, even looks forward to it. This is not to say that believers should go through life wanting to die and constantly entertaining thoughts of suicide. The true believer understands that this life is a blessing and all that God gives us in this life and in this world are the blessings of God and are to be appreciated and enjoyed. The believer understands we have been placed here with a purpose—to know God and enjoy him forever—and we have been placed here to do a job, to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. But the believer also knows that this life and this world is not worth clinging to. That no matter how good this life may be, the next life will be infinitely better. When this life ends and we enter into the glorious and unmitigated presence of Christ and find ourselves worshipping before his throne, we will experience more joy and peace and happiness than we ever thought possible and we will not miss any part of this world and this life and we certainly will not desire to return to this world even one bit. For believers, the best is yet to come.
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