Another good one from EDIFIED!
“My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2
There is in each of us that deep longing for something more than this earth can give. As one friend said recently, “There is a question that keeps coming up inside, ‘Is this all there is?’”
God has given us a yearning for Him, a gift we often don’t recognize. This longing can be disguised as an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, or a realization that no matter how well things go, there is still some emptiness inside.
We tend to confuse this longing for God with our desires for material things, accomplishment or human relationships. However, no matter what we do about it, this longing is there, showing us the emptiness of life without Him, pulling us towards Him.
If we pay attention to, and cultivate this longing, it can become a positive passion, the burning “first love” that draws us deeper into our relationship with Christ. Ignoring this yearning means we will be like the Ephesians who, Christ said in Revelation 2, would be judged for losing their first love and falling from the high place God had for them.
Part of cultivating that passion is consistently looking to see who God is. Psalm 84:11 gives us two pictures of our wonderful God: “…the Lord God is a sun and a shield….” Think about what the sun does for us. It gives warmth without which life can’t exist. It is the source of light so we can see, and it makes many other things possible including food (light interacting with chlorophyll), energy (all usable energy has sun light as its ultimate source), clean water (the weather cycle providing clean rain comes from evaporation), the rhythm of the seasons (regulated by our distance from the sun), variety in weather (sunny days and cloudy days, calm and storm), direction (the sun rises in the East and sets in the West), discipline and rest (night and day), beauty (sunrise and sunsets, shadows to highlight the landscape), and consistency (it comes up every day).
Our God is like this, providing all this and more for us. We are surrounded by His love and provision, but sadly take most of it for granted.
God is also our shield, like the atmosphere, filtering out what will harm us, such as negative rays and meteorites. There are many promises in Scripture of His protecting us from what is harmful (e.g., Ps. 23, 1 Pet. 1:5). He knows what is good for us and lets the pleasant and the painful positives come through while keeping out that which will damage us spiritually.
I am tempted to complain at some of what He allows to come through the filter of His love, but must come back to His shielding us from all that is truly evil with wisdom and power, and in praise bow before His will.
It is good to remember that our God is our sun and our shield, to note what He does for us every day, and to cultivate the deep yearning of our souls for His presence and grace by spending time with Him, in worship, in the Word, in intercession.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to recognize your work in my life as my sun and shield, to be thankful, to give praise in all, to cultivate the relationship you have for me, for your glory and for the growth of all those around me. Amen.”