O God, You are my God; early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
ALTHOUGH OUR NEED FOR GOD IS VERY REAL, WE DON’T ALWAYS RECOGNIZE THAT NEED. And if we spend our lives pursuing other things, we may explain that by saying we don’t need God as much as others do, but that explanation doesn’t do justice to the truth. It would be more accurate to say that we don’t recognize our need. The objective existence of our need and our subjective feeling of it are two very different things. And the great challenge we face is to bring these two into harmony. Having a need for God, as every human being does, we need to feel that need. As the years go by, we should more truthfully understand, lovingly feel, and honestly acknowledge that we need our God.
David spoke of his “thirst” for God: “My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land.” What does it mean to thirst for God? Does it not mean we recognize our inadequacy without Him? Yes, it means this and more. It means we confess Him to be our Creator (Romans 1:21) and admit the impossibility of our existence without His sustaining grace (Colossians 1:17). It means we reverently and gratefully turn our hearts toward Him and come to the point where we love the thought of Him. It means we long for fellowship with Him and, above all, we recognize that without redemption from the sins we have committed against Him, we are hopelessly lost and undone (Acts 16:30).
In regard to our physical bodies, we objectively need such things as vitamin D and exposure to sunlight. If we don’t get these two things, we develop rickets. A person with rickets may or may not understand what it is that he is lacking; yet the deficiency and its consequences are very real. And so it is with the needs of our spirits. “The soul is a never ending sigh after God” (Theodore Christlieb). If we don’t recognize our need for what it is and attend to its truthful satisfaction, in time the dry and thirsty land in which we live will take its toll.
“Our nature hungers for God even when it broke with him long ago, perhaps the more intensely the longer ago it was. It experiences a sort of famine. But the devil rides it and spurs it on, to distract it from its own need. He changes its hunger into haste. That is why people today are in such a hurry. Their speed is to distract their hunger” (Louis Evely).