Monday Morning Encouragement -- Soul Longing


"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God." (Psalm 42:1 ESV)

For most people, celebrating Christmas includes time spent with family and friends. Meals are shared, gifts are exchanged, and once more lasting memories are made. It's a time of celebration, and for Christians it's especially meaningful as we acknowledge and honor our Savior's birth. 

And yet, for some of us -- even Christians -- this season is a lonely time. We may be separated from loved ones, either by distance or by death. This may be the first Christmas without a spouse, a child, or a parent. Or maybe we're feeling overwhelmed and anxious this year. We want to celebrate. We want to feel the "Christmas spirit", but in reality we don't. If we're honest, we just want to skip Christmas entirely. If you're feeling this way -- or have ever felt this way -- you know what I'm saying. You understand.

So what do we do when this happens to us? We could just wait it out. Eventually Christmas will come and go, and we can focus on a new year. But is this really the answer? In the very depth of our soul don't we long to feel that Christmas joy we once felt? Don't we want more?

I submit that we do, and I want to propose the answer to our malaise is found in God. What we really need is more of Him. More of Jesus. More of the Holy Spirit.  Our thirsty souls are longing for God. They're panting for Him as a thirsty deer pants for cool streams of water. And just as the deer must stop to drink from the stream, so we must stop to drink from God's word. It's what our souls long for, it's what we need to quench our feelings of despair. Our feelings of loneliness. 

Psalm 42 begins with a desperate longing for God. And it ends with that longing fulfilled. Here's what the Psalmist writes in the last verse:

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God."

The Psalmist found hope in God, and that led him to praise Him; to worship God. When our hearts overflow with worship, there's no room for despair. This is what satisfies the longing of our souls.

Today's music video As The Deer is taken from Psalm 42. It will be familiar to many of us. This particular version by Shane and Shane is a favorite of mine. I pray it will lead you to worship the Savior who loves you. May I suggest you stop, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and let the words and music speak to your soul. God will meet you there.

I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.


  1. Good morning, Nancy. It's a windy day in Juneau today. I love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the music. I listen to it all year long. I love the colors and I love the knowing that the hard things in this life are temporary and it really will be worth it all when I see Jesus. I recently told a friend, who is not a believer, that at the end of my life here, if what I believe is not even true, that we are just done and there is nothing after this, it's still worth it to me to have this faith. My life is enriched because of my belief in the Savior and what He has done for us all. Last year on December 22 we had our son's funeral. He was 38. 12 years before that we lost our oldest son. I may have told you this already. He was 30. We lost one to an accident and one to illness. We have another son and 2 daughters. Christmas can be difficult. So many memories come flooding in. Still, we are thankful for the memories and the love that never dies. I'm in a denomination that has never really paid much attention to Advent, but it has become so important to me. It keeps my focus where it needs to be. We live in a double wide manufactured home. I have 22 totes of Christmas decor. Most of it stayed in the totes this year and I just took out my favorites. It's time to let go of the "stuff" and not work myself to exhaustion unpacking and repacking. I still work a full-time job and the energy level "ain't" what it used to be. I will leave the tree up till the end of January. It helps me get through the dark Alaskan winters. I hope you have a good week. I look forward to more youtube videos. Sandy

  2. Nancy, I have definitely had those times when I just wished it was January already! Sometimes it stems from commercialism overload and being done with that. But I think you are so right, it's also from taking our focus off of Jesus, and we need to get back to that. Loneliness and grief can be intensified during this time as well. It helps to just let the commercialism roll off of us and refocus. I do appreciate these Christmas devotions!

  3. What a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. This is a really different year for us, we are missing 3 faces around the holiday tables, and it is hard. Like you shared though - our hope is in the Lord, and we rejoice that they are with Him. And while Christmas is different this year, we are thankful for the presence of Jesus that sustains us through the difficult times. So thankful, as David wrote, that we can find hope in the Lord, and He will be with us. Hugs to you dear friend!

  5. Oh how I love that song! Thank you so much for posting the link today. Dennis has long said he wants it sung at his funeral. It simplifies everything for us. My soul longs for Him so strongly during these days. I appreciate the devotions you post every week.
    Blessings and love,

  6. Thank you for today's post. I loved it.. and the song is just beautiful and the singers so so good! I too long to feel closer to God and Jesus... sometimes I feel it and other's I feel like I'm being ignored. It's a tough line to be on and not TOTALLY trust. I do try to trust more. I hope all is well with you! hugs... Marilyn


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