Many of us are familiar with Psalm 42:1-2, ‘As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You. O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?’
Paul tells us, ‘For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face’ (1 Corinthians 13:12).
When we can finally ‘come and appear before God’ and see the face of God, it’ll be an incredible moment.
Remember the time before you became a believer? Was there a moment when you felt an emotional pull towards church? Maybe you’d cry every time you heard a Christian or gospel song or it could be an experience so overwhelming and even exhausting to tears.
How can you experience such a draw and emotion to something with which you did not at first engage in? The answer is that our soul thirsts for God, something is missing without Jesus.
Deep within, we felt incomplete without Him and only Jesus could complete us. He’s the only One who can satisfy that hunger and thirst. Knowing God changed us that day and looking into the face of God can change us in the most dramatic ways – such that our previous life is destroyed. Isn’t this what we want?
In the Garden of Eden, God’s desire was to walk with Adam and Eve, to be in the midst of His children. Genesis 2:23 tell us, ‘And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden’, they recognised the Presence of God and identified Him by the sound they heard, and they hid themselves.
No one can look directly at the Creator of Genesis and simply say it was a nice experience. In other words, we cannot see the face of God and say “chayay”, the Hebrew word for ‘live’, and continue as if everything was normal.
God said to Moses, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” (Exodus 33:20). God was not telling Moses that if he saw His face, he’d physically die, but he’d realise that his life could only be sustained by His strength and be revived by God.
Man isn’t revived or strengthened by bread alone because it has nothing to do with his mortal or physical survival. God told Israel that “man does not live (chayah) by bread alone, but man lives (chayah) by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3), because he’s revived and strengthened by God’s Word alone.
Hebrews 12:14 speaks of a ‘holiness without which no one will see the Lord’, because the holiness of God is enough! No one can see His face and continue to be revived and strengthened by natural means.
For this reason the psalmist doesn’t discourage but encourages us to do what Moses did – to seek His face. “So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Revelation 22:4 says, ‘They will see his face’, and when the Messiah returns, He’ll restore in fullness. Moses experienced portions of this life with God but when He returns, this will be the culmination of the revelation of God, and it’ll be restored fully.
When this happens, it’s more than what man has ever experienced in the past. We’ll be in our resurrected body, and will finally be able to look upon God the Father and live; we’ll see and experience Him in full.
If desire is the fuel for more, and for our spiritual growth, then we need a plan to increase it.
Here are some thoughts to increase our thirst:
1. Embrace Repentance
This is the act of facing squarely and confessing our sin. Jesus was pierced by sorrow over our sin, so be honest with the condition of your heart. It’ll create a thirst and hollow your heart to be desperate for Him.
2. Stay In Community
This is so you can encourage one another daily or often. We can create a safe place to share our struggles, to intentionally spur one another in love and good works (Hebrew 10:24-25).
I’ve often used the psalms – for meditating on, memorising, or praying – and they’ve been a sure practice for me to increase my desire for God.
3. Focus On God’s Goodness
Instead of focusing on your lack, focus on God ’s goodness. The only time when you’ll receive an answer is when you don’t stop but keep asking for it.