“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.”
In today’s reading, we find a psalm rejoicing in the comfort God’s presence brings to our lives. Saint Augustine must have known this psalm well because he wrote, “Our heart is restless until it rests in You.” When there is an Emptiness, a Thirst, or an Absence, it is difficult to be grateful. In the midst of struggle and hardship, gratitude is the last of our priorities. But in this psalm, we see a movement from Emptiness and Thirst to a celebration of Presence. The psalmist describes still searching for God in the midst of struggle, showing a faithful lament rather than a disconnected complaint. In the middle of a desert with no water, a wilderness struggle, the psalmist still looks to God for satisfaction. Author Brian McLaren says to imagine “you are banging on God’s door and won’t give God any rest until your thirst receives satisfaction,” (Naked Spirituality, p155). In times of difficulty, our persistence to seek God — to find rest in God — is often the most authentic and best manifestation of faith. It is this persistence that we can look back on our lives and be grateful for in this season of reflection. When have you had to hold on to your faith with persistence because you were in a wilderness of struggle? How did God respond to your persistence? Even though gratitude for the situation is hard to come by, you can reflect back with the eyes of faith to see yourself persistently pursuing God — restlessly searching for rest — and sometimes that is the most faithful thing you can do.