[A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah.]
“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.”
Sometimes when I meditate on a verse, I try to think through God’s meaning by formulating what the verse might have said if God had given it to us with opposite wording. I’ll even search a thesaurus for antonyms. Then, I rephrase and rewrite the verse in what would be its opposite form.
If I do this exercise with Psalm 63:1, I’m startled by the contrasting picture the opposite-verse brings to mind. Here’s a photo of the image the antonym-version draws for us, and following the photo is my opposite-version of David’s original verse.
Here’s my opposite picture:
Here’s my opposite verse:
[A psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in luxury in a secure, happy place.]
O God, you are God; but I do not seek you. My soul does not desire you; my whole body does not long for you in this luxuriant and energizing place where there is plenty to sustain my every need.
What? The luxuriant and energizing place can actually be a dry and parched place? Yes, just that. The happy place of self-sufficient security actually dulls. And in the secure and happy life of our dreams we end up jaded and disheartened. We end up parched, dry, and hollow.
What does that mean for us when, as a Christian, we’re weary? It means that when we find ourselves thinking,
“If only my circumstances would change, I’d be less weary. If only my surrounding location/people/experiences would comply with my plan for my perfect happy, all would be right in life.”
Oh, but self, when I think that, it’s not true.
If all the ducks of my life were lined up in tidy rows, and happiness were my daily bread, I might remember God as God, but not as my God. I’d not desire Him, or seek Him, or long for Him.
I’d be fine with my satisfying happy. And if I don’t desire Him or seek Him or long for Him, my soul shrivels. I dry up and die.
So, the true cure for weariness? Not a change of circumstance. But an earnest seeking of God, a waiting for Him in my exhaustion. And while I wait, a quiet joy that I am His, and that He is my God. Not a fight to rid myself of weariness (so that I can be self-sufficient and self-secure) but an earnest cry. And an earnest wait. He will answer. He will bathe weariness with care!
And also, and especially, this: When the weariness does lift, when God’s Word has saturated your tired spirit and your worn-out days become days of rest, don’t worship the rest. Don’t cling to the secure and energized state of being.
Thank Him for it, yes! Remember, though, to worship Him, not the weary-free moments. Cling to Him.
For the weariness has been allowed in order to show you your need of Him, which is the ultimate good to you in the end. Because needing Him looks like water splashing all around, deluging your soul with good.
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God … lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.”