This post was written by our Pastor of Students, Brad Whitelaw.
“My heart and flesh cry out for the living God“ Psalm 84:2
“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.“ Psalm 63:1
I join in with the Psalmist when he writes “My heart and flesh cry out for the living God” Ps.84:2 I long for more of God – to know him better and deeper; to give him more of my life in surrender and to allow him to change me; to influence my attitudes and actions. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God! Why? I only have to look as far as the gospel to capture the why my heart and flesh cry out for God. God, didn’t leave me abandoned, but gave me his Son. Jesus, didn’t leave me in my sin, but took on my sin. The Holy Spirit doesn’t keep me chained to my sin, but helps me daily overcome my sin.
At first glance, the word “flesh” in Psalm 84 might confuse us. Paul uses the word flesh in Romans 8:13 and Galatians 5:24 in a negative way to describe my propensity toward sin. So it may seem odd that our bodies would ever desire God. That is until we remember we were created by Him and for Him. So why wouldn’t my flesh cry out to the living God?
One of my favorite things to do is to run outside. And some of my best moments with God occur…while I am running – outside. For some reason, when I run, it’s as if I am running with God. I feel as though I am in his presence. As I run, I talk with him and listen to him. At the beginning of most of my runs I ask God to speak to me and He does! He brings a passage to mind that I have been studying, a song to mind that I have recently heard, a conversation I recently had with someone. Sometimes He speaks to me through conviction, sometimes it’s his still small voice speaking into a prayer request or sometimes it’s him causing me to remember a personal victory or praise point. Throughout my life I have come to realize, like the Psalmist, “My heart and flesh cry out for the living God”. I need him. I need to remain – eyes focused, palms up, and ears tuned into the living God, because “my soul thirsts for [Him]; my whole body longs for [Him]“. I can’t do what I have been called to do, apart from Him. So….I run. I run to hear from God. To listen. To breathe. To celebrate. To reflect. To pray. To refocus.
Are there times when you feel close to Him that aren’t “religious”? Does your spirit jump for joy when you push your body to the limit at the gym, sing with the radio at the top of your lungs, walk to work on cool winter morning or dance to the songs on your playlist?
Resit the idea that these moments don’t quite constitute worship. Maybe you have thought talking to God while running isn’t legit. Maybe dancing while doing the dishes didn’t seem worshipful. Maybe singing in the shower seems juvenile. But if enjoying his company while running your 5k, enjoying his creation while strolling down the path, praising Him while dancing in your living room, then what does? If you have your heart attune to him, feeling his joy for you, reflecting on his greatness, meditating on what he has been teaching you through his word, marveling at his power through creation, listening for his instruction while walking your dog, then embrace that moment and live. Live in his presence. Live to listen. Live to hear. Live by keeping your eyes and ears open. Live by constantly “crying out for the living God” in everything you do.
Today, if you feel desperate for some exercise or alone time, it’s possible what you are actually desperate for is the presence of God. So, get your dance on. Clear your throat and sing. Lace up your shoes and run. Grab the dog leash and walk the path.
God may we never keep you boxed in, rather may we live every moment searching for you, thirsting for more of you. God our heart and flesh cry out for you because you are our living God!