Imagine yourself in a dry and weary pandemic lockdown, thirsty for a sip of quenching hope. Perhaps no imagination is needed. Now read Psalm 63:
"1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night."
Right now, I am thirsting for the end of lockdown. In my most desperate moments, I imagine it to be utterly and entirely satisfying when this whole pandemic thing is over. But deep down, I know this wishful illusion is flimsy. How quickly will the other troubles and burdens of this world sweep over this satisfaction?
This week, this Psalm was a sweet, refreshing reminder to me of where real and lasting satisfaction will be found. Verse 2 prompts me to remember my knowledge and experience of God's power and glory - not least displayed in God's triumph over sin in my own life. This very same power and glory will banish sickness, mourning and crying forever (Revelation 21:4). Now that will be fully satisfying in a way that the end of Covid-19 won't.
Verse 3 leads me to dwell on the fact that God's love is better than life. Yes, I might be stuck inside. Yes, I might get Covid-19. Yes, I might die. But God's love is better than life in this world because it is our adoption into eternal life - a life in perfect harmony with God, others and self. That life will not have the frustrations of a fallen world, and we'll find the satisfaction not possible in this life. Yet God's love is not just the satisfaction that comes after trouble is over. God's love enfolds us with comfort, empathy and the promise of vindication in the midst of trouble. Death cannot separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus for those who call upon him as Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Will you pray with me this week that God will guide your hope to rest on his power and glory? Pray with me that you can say with the psalmist "your love is better than life" and mean it. Pray with me that the satisfaction you most thirst for will be in God.