When Desperation Takes Over
By Jennifer Slattery –
If you’ve ever been to Southern California late-summer, you understand the meaning of hot. We lived on the edge of the Mojave Desert where rain evaded us and temperatures often hovered in the 110’s or higher. Being young and stupid, one day I decided to go for a long run—without water. About halfway through and perhaps six miles in, my body started to get chills and my dehydrated tongue clogged my mouth. Dried sweat caked salt around my lips. I needed water. Nearing a very long hill, my survival instinct kicked in, over-powering fatigue. Suddenly, I pumped my arms and legs—I couldn’t get to water fast enough.
In that moment, I understood Psalm 42 in an entirely new way.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
David doesn’t say these words casually, but instead, cries out in desperation. If you read the rest of the passage, you’ll feel the intensity of his emotions. Discouraged and alone, abandoned and betrayed by those he loves, he calls out to God, “Help me! Hold me! Be near me because I can’t go on without You!”
Have you been there? Maybe you lost someone you love, or perhaps the stress of life weighs heavy on your shoulders, bowing your back and making it difficult to see the road ahead.
In those moments, our survival instinct takes over, driving us to the only One who can save us. And when we, like David, cry out from the deepest recesses of our heart, “I need You, God!” God replies:
“But now, this is what the LORD says—
He who created you, Jacob,
He who formed you, Israel:
‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cushand Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made’” (Isaiah 43:1-5a NIV).
I made you.
I see you.
I love you.
You are precious in My sight.
I will help you, so take courage and be not afraid. My arm is mighty to save and I will carry you through the most tumultuous of storms, because you are Mine and I will never, ever let you go.