Not Longing for Long
Here is the FINAL installment of the “Not Longing for Long” message that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago. I hope you enjoy this and that you will integrate it into your life.
Longing for the Touch of the Divine…
Somebody once asked me, “What’s your favorite book of the Bible?”I immediately answered, “The Psalms.” “Why?” She asked. “Because I don’t think of the Psalms as Bible. I hear real people speaking in them, people just like you and me who are pouring out their hearts to God.” Imagine the man or woman who sat down to put the feelings expressed in Psalm 42 on paper: “O God, my soul is longing to be in touch with you. I am thirsting for your presence. Where are you? Will you ever make yourself known to me? Can’t you see that my tears are staining this paper, that tears are my food all day and all night. It sure doesn’t help that people mock me by asking,‘So just where is this God of yours?’ Good question! Where are you? I need you so desperately and yet I feel as if you have tossed me aside. You are turning my guts inside out. But…what else can I do? I have nothing left except to hope that one day you will help me, that I will know you are with me, that I will, once again, be able to thank you for not abandoning me.”
Can you imagine what was going on in that Psalmist’s life?
Was it a mother who has lost her child? Was it a lonely elderly person bereft of family or friends? A Dad whose journalist son was beheaded? A Mom whose child was shot dead on a street? Was this person groveling in poverty, hungry and desperate; someone who had lost their way and lost their reason for living?
I don’t know who Psalmist 42 was, but let’s assume she was a Mom who lost a child.
No human being could fix her pain. All she could do was choke back her tears and grasp for divine intervention. This was her only hope. All that could quiet her soul was the touch of the divine. She was waiting…hoping…longing for that divine touch because she had known the touch of God before. She had once before tasted God and, now in the dark night of her soul, she knew that nothing but God would do.
The Gospel song “Precious Lord Take My Hand” was written by the father of Gospel music, Thomas Dorsey.
One night, he received a telegram while performing on stage in St. Louis. The telegram informed him that his wife Nettie had died during childbirth. His baby girl died shortly thereafter. Thomas had always been a man of deep faith, but this horrific loss made him feel as if God had tossed him aside. He must have asked as the Psalmist did, “When shall I behold the face of God.” Dorsey knew that no human being could heal his pain. No human being could quiet his soul. His only hope was for the touch of the Divine. A short time later, he wrote the music and lyrics for “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” His song expressed his longing for the touch of the Divine. I wonder if his tears stained the paper.
Sooner or later, we will all have an experience like the Psalmist and Thomas Dorsey.
We will feel as if God has tossed us aside. We will be acquainted with despair and pain that no human can fix. We will “long for the touch of the Divine”. The cry of our heart will be, “Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.”
As you pause this week, my hope and prayer is that God will give you the strength and desire to draw ever closer.