As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.Psalm 42:1-3
My soul thirsts for you, O God, for the living God When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Here the Psalmist clearly communicates his desire to be in the presence of God as he worships. One can feel his melancholy emotions as he longs for God, is surrounded by his enemies, and is kept from the sanctuary. These feelings are so strong that he is repeatedly asking himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?…” (v. 5, 11).
I had a day recently where things were simply not unfolding to my satisfaction. It was nothing life altering, however, that day it felt like a lot. My heart felt heavy and I just couldn’t find a sense of peace. The people around me probably thought I was mourning for some reason, but really, I was just lacking joy in the Lord. My heart and soul were downtrodden and nothing earthly could fix that. As the day progressed I continually asked myself why I was feeling so blue and restless, but to no avail. I could never put my finger on a reason. That is, until I sat down in prayer and evaluated my day. I was longing to be in the presence of God. I had neglected to spend adequate time with him that morning, I had put my desires first, and I was ultimately kept from daily worship. Aha! That’s why no treats, no music, and no level of productivity could soothe my soul.
Many of us may be in this situation of worship separation anxiety (yes, it’s a term I just made up!). We aren’t getting to worship at church like we are used to, things are changing, when we do go to the sanctuary things are different. Sometimes we long for things to be like they were back before Covid kept us from sanctuary worship. We might feel far from God’s presence or like we can’t fully engage. It leaves our souls longing for more. I encourage you with the Psalmists words, in verses 5 and 11. After he asks himself why his soul is tumultuous and down trodden, he gives a reminder, “…Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” (v. 5, 11). Remember that even before our current circumstances, there were things that would try to keep us from true worship and fellowship with God. We have always been surrounded by distractions. Whatever your situations is, take comfort in the fact that God is still present and your hope is in Him. Let your joy come from Him and enter His gates with thanksgiving for the many opportunities for worship that we do have (albeit sometimes non-traditional and uncomfortable opportunities).