Rest in the Sanctuary
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
6 when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
they shall be prey for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
My faith feels a lot like unfinished business. If you are anything like me, you will have days of doubts and fallow periods where God doesn't feel very near. If my spiritual life got an annual appraisal like the ones we do at work, I'd be lucky to get away with a "Needs to Improve" when it comes to practical action and diligence in prayer.
I do identify with the psalmist here though – there are frequent times when I thirst for a closer walk with God, when I yearn for something deeper. My spiritual life often feels like the "dry and parched land where there is no water".
Bono captured this longing, this restlessness, this lack of completeness in U2's song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".
"I believe in Kingdom come
When all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes, I'm still running
You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for"
I think we are in good company. I think we can learn to accept our restlessness and realise that our faith lives are the work of a lifetime. We never need to stop searching for God or learning more about him. At the same time, we can rest in the sanctuary of having certainty about what Jesus has done for us. We can, therefore, know that He "carried the cross of my shame" but still not have found what, ultimately, we are looking for.
Lord Jesus you have carried the cross of my shame but I still thirst for you and my life can feel like a dry and parched land. I believe in, and long for, your coming Kingdom. Fill me with your Holy Spirit but never let me stop yearning for you. AMEN.