Today’s reading is Psalm 63
Do you pray for blessing or for suffering?
I know I would much rather have riches and comfort than insecurity, threat or pain. Yet when I read David’s wilderness psalms, as he is pursued by his enemies, I see that these are the times when his soul truly thirsts for God.
So too it has been in my life. It’s much harder to thirst for God, and consciously think about trusting him when all is going well. When I have been out of work, financially insecure, or seen loved ones suffering in hospital and been helpless to help them, it has been much easier to long for God’s comfort and to lean on him.
I am not advocating physical suffering in order to achieve spiritual devoutness, nor shutting out the world in some monastic denial of comfort, but I do wonder whether in order to truly thirst for God, we need to avoid taking our fill of all the other things that vie for our affections.
I have a good friend, who loves chocolate, but has consciously given it up. Some think he’s weird, but it was a choice he made because it reminds him that knowing God is better than the finest things of this world; that God’s word is sweeter than honey; and as David says in this Psalm, God’s steadfast love is better than life.
It is wonderful to enjoy the blessings God has made for us. The safety of the life we live. The comforts of a healthy western lifestyle, with shelter, security and satisfaction. But be on your guard that these things do not fill your life in a way that leaves no room to thirst for God. Instead, let your soul be satisfied [with God] as with fat and rich food, and your mouth praise God with joyful lips as the first priority, then add those other comforts in their proper place behind.
As Jesus said, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.