Then Ziggy encounters the absolutely perfect spot. We have reached a wooden bridge crossing over the brook. Ziggy runs down into the water and takes a joyful drink. "As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God." Ps 42:1 Ziggy starts jumping and playing. She is splashing up and down the stream full of the joy of life and relief from the hot weather. There is such delight in her. You can feel the happiness radiating from her as she frolics up and down.
I had come up to the mountain hoping to find a place where I could sit and be in the presence of God. As I watched her, I heard the approach of kids. I knew our time of solitude was over. I called her to come. A phrase was running through my head: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. When we returned home, I looked this passage up and realized this was the word I needed to hear that day. Psalm 46 continues:
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and behold the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually,
"Where is your God?”. . .
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall again praise God,
My help and my God.
Sometimes the words we need to hear are the words of anguish and release. When it seems like what you have done or are doing is not working your soul longs for God. You long for the word of liberation and peace. When you have heard that word you can remember the joy of the puppy dancing in water and the time when you were full of praise for the God of help and hope.
By day the Lord commands God’s steadfast love,
And at night God’s song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
The God of my life is the God whose steadfast love is with me always; who is the refuge I can turn to, and the truth that will lead me. And it is the God who is the God of joy. The God who laughs as a puppy chases a butterfly trying to catch it. Getting closer and closer and actually touching noses only to have it fly off for another run through the flowing stream and strewn rocks. The God who our souls long for is there both in the times when we feel alone and in the times when joy is abundant. When we stopped to drink of the water and are refreshed we can sing praises to the God whose steadfast love is with us forever.