As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1
Every night, we’d wait for them. Enjoying the coolness of a northern Michigan evening, my fellow campers would quiet ourselves and wait for the deer to relinquish their hiding places and come to the river for water. It was a highlight of our day. The river shimmering in the setting sun seemed to welcome the approaching hush of the forest night. There would be slight movement, a quiet rustling and then timidly, the deer would free themselves from the lush foliage and approach the water’s edge. Once there, they would lower their heads down to the cold water and drink to their hearts content.
Their actions brought Psalm 42:1 alive for me. The deer fought back every fear of exposure to come to the river and drink their fill. How I long to crave God the same way they craved those unhurried sips of water!
God wants us to desire His presence. He won’t tell you about His dreams for your life until He knows you yearn to listen to His voice, to follow His footsteps for the rest of your days. He doesn’t want a debate. He didn’t put you on Earth just so you could say, “Let me think about it.”
No, hearing from God has got to be a necessity just like water is to the deer. You have to say, “God, let me know what You want me to do. I want to hear Your voice. I’ve got to hear it. I yearn to understand what Your vision is for me.”
King David wrote in the book of Psalms, “My God I want to do what you want” and “What I want most of all and at all times is to honor your laws” (Psalm 40:8, Psalm 199:20).
David was passionate in his declaration that what he wanted most was to honor God. It was the deepest desire of his heart. He used words for seeking the presence of God like, “I long for it, “ “I crave it,” “I hunger for it.” And my favorite, as you already know, “I’m like a deer panting for water.”
When you still yourself much like my fellow campers did to watch the deer in the glooming, you are going to hear from God.
That’s because while many people talk to God, but they never hear from God. They make prayer a monologue. You can’t have a relationship with God when it is so one-sided. Relationship only happens through conversation. You talk, then you listen. Just as important as talking to God in prayer is listening to God. You have to still yourself to heard His words. And in order to do that, you’ve got to want it so badly your heart pants for a word from Him.