November 11 (Psalm 42:1)
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. (ESV)
In the sixteenth century, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina composed a motet based on this verse. It is called “Sicut Cervus” from the first two words of the Latin translation, and as one person commented on this recording of it on YouTube, “This might be the most beautiful three minutes in the history of forever.” I agree, and it is certainly one of my favorite pieces of music.
Anyone can appreciate Palestrina’s composition and enjoy it thoroughly, but those who have tasted the pleasure of God know that there is something deeper and richer to it and to this verse. There is a reason man’s relationship with God has inspired art and architecture, drama and dance and music that have become the crowning achievements of the creative aspirations of the human race. That relationship, when rightly ordered through the grace of Jesus Christ, is satisfying at the deep level of our souls. It is glorious, wonderful, magnificent, and filled with peace attainable nowhere else. It is loving and welcoming. It is home.
Do you know that? Or rather, do you feel that? If you have tasted even once that deep intimacy with God, you know there is nothing like it. If, however, it seems like words on a page or something that others have experienced but not you, that may just be your soul’s longing for the one thing that can truly satisfy it. And just as a deer always finds water to slake its thirst, so God will always be found by those who truly seek Him, for they will then know that He has been seeking them.
Lord, I need You more than water or sleep or food. I need You more than the air I breathe. Draw near to me as I draw near to You. Fill my soul and restore it to life in a dry and thirsty land. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins