Our thirst for these things is not wrong. The places we seek them are.
The glory of God is the water for which we thirst. His love is the security that we seek. His presence is the clothing we feel desperate for. King David explained in Psalm 139 that God’s love finally gave him what he was looking for:
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! . . .
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. . . .
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Ps 139:1, 13–14, 16 ESV)
God saw me in the womb. Before my mom even knew she was pregnant, he knew everything there was to know about me. And he loved me. He carefully planned my life and chose every one of my days, sending his angels to watch over me in both the good times and the bad. Not even a single hair falls from my head without his knowledge (Matt 10:30).
When our kids were young, I was constantly amazed at how aware my wife, Veronica, was of even their smallest physical features. “J. D., did you see that Ryah has a new freckle behind her right ear?” And I would say, “Which one is Ryah, again?” Just kidding. Yet God knows me better and watches me more closely than the most attentive, love-stricken mother.
As Psalm 139:6–8 says,
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in hell, you are there! (ESV)
You literally can’t get away from God’s love! Even if you made your bed in hell, God wouldn’t leave you there.
The truth is, we did make our bed in hell. We told God to leave us alone and ran as far away from him as we could. Yet he kept thinking about us. Even as we pounded nails into his hands and feet, he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 ESV). He wouldn’t let go.
No wonder David says,
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. (Ps 139:17–18)
You are precious to God (Isa 43:4). If one of my kids contracted a disease for which the only cure was an exorbitantly expensive medicine, without hesitation I would mortgage every earthly possession I had to get that medicine. That’s because they are precious to me. The God who spoke the galaxies into existence, and could do it all over again if he wanted, finds you precious. He was willing to face humiliation, torture, and scorn just to buy you back.
Do you ache to be special to someone? You are.
Do you want to be known, valued, and approved of? You are.
God’s love is richer, deeper, and lasts longer than any other love! You matter so much to God he literally cannot stop thinking about you, as King David says.
The arms you search for in romance are his arms. The fullness you yearn for is found in his presence. The security you seek is found in his promises.
He is the living water you thirst for.
Greear, J. D., and David Jeremiah. 2018. Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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