“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” (Psalm 63:1) How often do you believe that the Lord pulls away from you, not to test you, not because there is unrepented of sin in your life, but just to show you yourself.
This action, I do not believe, does no good to those who have not committed their lives to Him, but to those whose heart pants after Him, it is the loneliest times we have ever experienced. It is difficult to describe if you have not experienced it, it is not the loss of joy, the assurance of our salvation does not diminish, we still seek and serve, but we are doing so only in what can best be described as what David said, in a dry and thirsty land.
There is no reprieve, there is only continued obedience to Him for He alone is worthy to be served, but in the best way that I can describe it, it is without refreshing. It is as a man who loves the out of doors activities that is told he can no longer be outside, it is as being in a place where you do not want to be, but you will continue to do as you have done. Perhaps one of the best accounts is of Paul and Silas when they sang at midnight, (Acts 16:25) they were not happy to be in the dungeon, they had no idea of the punishment, if any, that was awaiting them, but they sang songs.
Here is the praise that the Most High loves the most from His children, when all is dark, when sadness has engulfed us, when we do not “feel” His presence. There is an old saying that is the inverse of the born-again believer, “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” The parable of the talents is a good one to recall here, for the master left, and the ones he gave the talents to were to stand, as it were, on their own two feet. (Matt. 25:14-30) Perhaps the account of the ten virgins, (Matt. 25:1-13) or the man who planted a vineyard and then left servants in charge of it. (Matt. 21:33-41) In each of these, at least some started to go their own way when the master left, we are to be the inverse of them.
In a dry and thirsty land we are to praise Him, and not because He expects it or even deserves it, but because we love Him, and His promises are true. In a sense, especially for us in these days, we await His return, but not just to save us from the wrath to come, not to remove us from this wicked and evil world, but because we love Him, we want to be near Him, we are, in a sense, homesick. Much of the chaff already has been blown away, there is much more to be revealed, those in that dry and thirsty land who will not wait will be like those virgins who had no oil left, they believed there was still time to go and do what should have been prepared for a very long time ago.
The praise that the Lord is due is far too many times only offered on the mountaintop, when life is good, when all is well, in the valley of the shadow of death, (Psalm 23:4) it is prayers that seem to take precedence, and in a way, rightly so, for by His right hand He holds us up. But there is little praise in that valley, there is little praise in the pain and sorrow, in the dungeon.
I would ask you to contemplate Luke 21:36 in this area, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” If we have been truly saved by grace through faith, if indeed, which He has, Jesus paid it all, then what worthiness is the Lord speaking of here? Would Job have continued to serve Him with no hope of further blessings on that dunghill, (Job 2:8) did Lazarus find a way to praise the name of the Most High at the rich man’s gate. How long will you last in that dry and thirsty land?