Yesterday I woke up earlier than expected, slipped quietly out of bed with the hope that I wouldn't disturb Nicol and Summer's much-needed slumber, got ready for the day, and stepped out onto the front porch for a few moments of quiet. The night's darkness dissolved slowly as the morning's dawning light crept onto the scene. Thick fog had quietly draped itself over the landscape in front of me. Birds sang the day's new songs. Cows grazed in the distance, munching on grass that was dripping with a heavy dew. The crisp chill in the air made me wish I had a hoody nearby. It was still and peaceful. It was a refreshing way to follow up on a good night of sleep and kickstart another day that was already screaming busyness at me.
As I sat there I was reminded of a familiar tune... we are hungry, we are hungry, we are hungry for more of You, we are thirsty, oh Jesus, we are thirsty for more of You. (Jeff Deyo) Soon the words that were swirling in my mind and welling up in my heart began to spill off my tongue, having an affect on my soul that was not unlike the scene before me. Calm. Peaceful. Refreshing. Gentle. Much needed.
The melody of this modern song ushered my heart to the ancient poetry of the psalmist... as a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2) I began to think about my friend, Dr. Bob Frederich, an 80-something husband/father/pastor. I recalled his trademark question which, if you or I were to see him today, he would no doubt ask of us at some point in the conversation. I looked at his face in my mind's eye, felt his firm handshake, his comforting touch, his warm smile, and let his oft' asked inquiry sink in... how's your soul? I've heard him say it dozens of times. Some have half jokingly told him that he ought to brand the question. It is his mantra. And he is genuinely interested in knowing the true answer. Not one of the all-too-quick responses we are most comfortable giving to such a question... things like "Great, how is your's?" or "Doing well, thanks for asking." He cares enough to ask the question and to listen for the gut-level truth we all feel deep within our soul.
How's your soul, Greg? I asked myself. Tough question. One that I'd prefer to answer with one of the glossed-over standard responses that allow me to evade the reality of the moment. I pondered the fact that Luke would have been 6 months old the previous day... it hurts so much to write that... would have been 6 months old... would have been. His loss tears at the very fiber of my soul. It is permanently etched on the walls of my heart. It is irreversible. It hurts. It stinks.
How your soul, Greg? I asked myself. My soul is hungry. My soul is thirsty. My soul pants - it huffs and puffs for the living God like the out of shape almost 40 year old that I am - for the living God.
I am hungry, I am hungry, I am hungry for more of You. I am thirsty, oh Jesus, I am thirsty for more of You.
(1) As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
(3) My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?"
(4) These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
(5) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
(6) and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
(7) Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
(8) By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
(9) I say to God, my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"
(10) As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?"
(11) Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.