Advent Reflection: Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  … By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:1-3, 8-11)
Yesterday I received our Compassion International sponsor packet for Josue David, a five year old who lives with his family in El Coco, El Salvador, about 40 miles from Santa Ana, near the border of Guatemala. They live on an acre or so of maize in a three room adobe house with an open fire stove and a picnic bench outside. His father, Hector, drives a truck out of Santa Ana for $5 a day; leaves at 4am so he can be home in the afternoon to work at home, help with his children and serve at his church. 

We brought Pollo Campero (salvadorean KFC) with us and ate around their picnic table. We were surprised to find out that David Josue was not sponsored because his sponsor dropped out. Because he and his sister have been in the program, they and his parents have come to faith in Jesus. His older brothers don’t yet know the Lord.

His mother said they would never forget us. I wondered if I could be his sponsor—we had already taken a picture together, prayed together, and we had been in their home. On the last day I asked our Compassion friends if I could be David Josue’s sponsor.  His packet was in the system, one of 1,000 packets offered at a Newsboys concert and sent around the country looking for a sponsor. They were able to find his packet and make the connection.
Being in touch with the Barrera Virula family I get in touch with a different part of my heart, asking the questions “What do I need?” versus “What do I want?” 

On the way back across the border after our house building trip in Mexico, or flying back from El Salvador I check needs and wants. One pastor on our trip reflected on his kitchen remodel discussion with his wife. “Do we really need a new kitchen?”  We talked about a new kitchen faucet that could cost as much a yearly child sponsorship.

It’s not about guilt, it’s about getting in touch with the longings of our own hearts, knowing what connects us to each other, and seeking the Lord together in what he longs for us. 

What do I long for? What are my wishes, my desires, my hopes and dreams? 

Hector and his wife long for their two older sons to know the Lord. They want their children to be safe, educated, fed. They want to serve in their church. They trust in Jesus and worship with their community. They want to make a difference in the lives of others.
Amy and I are so grateful our two sons know the Lord, they are safe, educated, fed. We want to serve in our church. We trust in Jesus and worship with our community. We want to make a difference in the lives of others.

My need for God is no less than Hector’s. I wonder though about my longing for God.

Jesus came at Christmas to satisfy the longing of our hearts for a relationship with God. We know God is with us, not because of what we have done to prove ourselves worthy, but because of God’s grace through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; not because I was born as an American, or live in San Diego or have advanced degrees or am a pastor, but because of the promises. 

Jesus came at Christmas so that by faith in him, believing on his name, receiving him we become children of God (John 1:12). Our hope is in him. Our souls find their rest in him.


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