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Monthly Archives: July 2011

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Thirst Quencher

I am thirsty today.  But the ice water doesn’t seem to quench the dry I feel in my mouth.  Hot all over, and grouchy too, I need more than water or even a perfect cup of peach tea to satisfy this thirst.  Irritable, I search for an excuse to get away by myself, maybe go find some great sales to get my adrenaline flowing and cheer me up.  Or maybe I just need to clean up my house and get things in order, so I can feel like I’m on top of it all again.  I think it through and remember I bought ice cream when I shopped yesterday (on sale, of course).  But as I reach for a bowl, the devotion I’m working on for next week comes to mind, and I stop dead in my tracks.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalm 42:1-2).

What if this time I satisfy the thirst with God Himself?  What if this thirst is not quenchable with water or shopping or even ice cream, but only with God?

But, I reason, I want something tangible.  Something I can actually touch and physically experience, grasp with my fingers.  Quite honestly, sometimes meeting with God seems so vague.  And, besides, what if I can’t find Him?  What if He doesn’t satisfy this hunger?

The Psalmist continues,

When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night . . . (vv2b,3a)

Turns out this guy knew the thirst I speak of.  Apparently, he fed it with tears.

Mine’s not that kind of sadness today.  But the thirst comes from the same place.  It’s the thirst that Creator God gave us when He breathed His very life into us.  The one He put there so we would find Him as the only Quencher.  The Living Water.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (42:5,11;43:5).

The writer of this particular Psalm was, for whatever reason, far from home, far from the Temple of God in Jerusalem, where he had served as a worship leader (1 Chronicles 6:31-38).  So he was homesick and longing for the good old days when he could go to the temple and find God right there.

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng (v4).

It used to be so easy.  But here’s where the rubber meets the road, and this Psalmist must do it even from where he stands.  Even from his place of thirst, seemingly so far from God and His dwelling.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon — from Mount Mizar (v6).

And I am struck by the power of the truth in this Psalm.  Because God is my Savior no matter where I am.  He shows me life and truth even when it feels hard to find.  He satisfies the driest of thirst even when I’m hot and irritable and grouchy all over.

And that is exactly what our Psalm writer finds as he remembers.

. . . in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (v6b).

Not only is his thirst quenched, but he is lavished in the living water that is God Himself.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

I re-evaluate my own thirst and conclude that no ice cream or great bargain-finding, not even the perfect glass of peach tea could even come close to quenching this thirst, which I’ve now realized is more in my soul than in my belly.  And I choose to look to God for quenching instead of grabbing that bowl and spoon.

And, like the Psalmist, I will yet praise Him.

Invisible Skin

I wonder if Adam and Eve had invisible skin before the Fall.  Completely comfortable in the translucency of their flesh, unafraid of who they were in their own skin.  I wonder because sometimes I’m not comfortable with who I am, and I’m glad for the callouses and the scars that hide the stories behind them.  And still other times, I try so hard to hide inside of my own skin, that I start to despise it and wish I could just let the real me out for everyone to see.

But what if we all had invisible skin?  Figuratively, of course (because let’s face it, I do not deal well with the sight of blood.  ‘Nuff said.)  What if no one could hide their true selves?  What if we couldn’t cover up our scars or our thin skin?  What if blisters didn’t turn into hard callouses and burns didn’t cause maiming?  Would we somehow be more ready to accept the true that others are?  Might we somehow be unafraid to show our true selves for all that they are and trust that God will show His beautiful image in us anyway?  Somehow?

I wonder what life might be like if we all walked around in invisible skin.  I wonder what we would find.  God’s Word says we would find beauty and strength.  Redeemed and forgiven.  So why is it so hard to live as if I were enveloped inside see-through flesh, showing only the truth of who I am?  Unafraid to show the truth of the scars and the callouses?

If I were to show you some of those through invisible skin, here’s some of what you might see in me . . .

That scar right in the middle of the top of my nose.  The one I’ve had since I picked a chicken pox scab when I was four.  Well, right underneath, you’d probably see God’s abundant care and provision.  The kind He used my mom to give when she held me and rocked me and dabbed calomine all over my itchy, icky spots of dread.

And that callous on my finger.  The one I got from holding the pen so tight as I journaled through that broken-hearted misery of loneliness and betrayal.  Well, I’m pretty sure you’d find beauty underneath that one.  You’d probably see Jesus building me and convincing me of who He really made me.  It would have Ephesians 1 written all over it.  The truth of who I am because of what Jesus did.

That thick skin on my heels?  You know, the stuff I had to develop if I wanted to walk anywhere in this world, ever?  Yeah, well right there on those heels, I believe you would see Jesus Christ.  My shoes of peace.  The ones I never walk without.  Never.  Because I truly cannot walk anywhere with any semblance of life without the peace of God that Jesus gives me.

God created me to reflect Him.  His beauty.  And yet, more often than not, I don’t feel beautiful.  In fact I have an uncanny ability to convince myself that I am much less than.  And at the same time, so much more than anyone can handle.

According to John and Stasi Eldridge in their book Captivating, that sums up the great Question of a woman’s heart.  “Am I lovely?  Am I enough?  Am I too much?”  Truth is, only God can answer that Question.  Truth is, I let other things, other people, answer it for far too long.  “If anyone saw the real you, the one behind the pretend strength you carry so well, they would run for the hills!”  And the wrong answer led me to less than living.  The NOT life that Jesus came to destroy with His REAL life.  I was bound up by my callouses and scars and thick skin.

But once I let God answer my Question, and listened to only Him, I was set free to live.  Really live.  And I have found that I don’t need the thick skin on my heels anymore.  I don’t want to hide my scars.  Because that’s where His beauty shines best.

And where His beauty shines, so does mine.