1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
Adversity can have an upside. Have you ever been to the desert, literally or metaphorically? The conditions are so harsh that it can sap your energy in no time. David writes this Psalm as a refugee in the Desert of Judah. When we pass through dry and parched land, we come to a deeper appreciation of the places where there are abundant resources. But the dry places can also contain God's blessing. The experience can sift our priorities and remove our distractions. In fact, if the truth be told, it is in these places that we cling most closely to our Lord even at the expense of all else. What breaks into our comfort is easy to relegate or label as bad. But it is in this very environment that we become more keenly aware of who God is and our need for his care. We pray to leave the desert, but sometimes doing so would mean leaving a place of intimacy in our relationship with God. When we are alone and away from our many diversions we finally experience God in an elemental way. We see with clarity how deeply satisfying it can be to have God at the center or our thoughts, motives, and actions. We can finally say with David "your love is better than life".
Where might God be calling you to embrace adversity in your life?
Father, I am slow to see your hand at work when my comfort is disrupted. Teach me to recognize the times in my life you are working through adversity. You move me away from my familiar paths, away from my distractions, and away from the illusion of control and call me to yourself. Let me learn to embrace this kind of adversity that helps me to know you better.