O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely. (NLT)
Regular readers of this blog know I believe the book of Psalms to be a vast resource for devotion, worship, and prayer. In dark or distressing times when we don’t know what to pray, how to lament, or what to say to God; in the joyful and peaceful times when we want to proclaim praise, give thanks, or express our blessings and longings; and, in every season of our lives, the psalms offer us robust theology, human emotion and need in all its vulnerable reality, and a connected path between the two.
Today’s psalm was originally uttered to God when David was roaming in the wilderness avoiding King Saul’s malevolent and murderous intent. David expressed his yearning desire and hope to connect with God and gain solace and guidance, step by step, by the Lord who sees and satisfies. David praised God within a life-and-death circumstance, longing to be satiated with spiritual food and drink.
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, and wherever our path takes us, the psalms help form and shape a profound spirituality of deep connection with the God we long to know and experience.
The psalms are so much more than ancient poems, prayers, and songs; they are words alive with the potential to bridge us to God. I often write my own translations and personally contemporize the psalms which helps me to approach God during my own wilderness experiences. So, here is my take on this psalm:
O God, you are my God; I am putting all my effort into seeking you.
my soul is thirsty for you.
my body is weak looking for you,
like in a desert where there is no water.
I am no stranger to you because I have seen you work before,
and I have gotten a glorious glimpse of your power in the past.
I have experienced that your steadfast love is better than life itself,
and I now bank on those times and praise you despite my trouble.
I choose to keep on remembering you and blessing your holy name.
In the mighty name of Jesus, I will lift my hands in praise, even if it looks weird to others.
I know that my soul will be satisfied in you, just like when I get a medium rare T-bone steak and corn on the cob.
And I will use my mouth to praise you with joy, no matter the circumstances,
when I remember you on my bed and cannot sleep,
and meditate on your wonderful grace as I lie there with my eyes wide open.
for you have always been my help,
and sitting on your lap I will be supremely confident and sing for joy.
Oh, my soul clings to you through this trial,
and your mighty hand upholds me. Amen.