Daily Devotions

A North Dakota Deliverance

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"We have heard with our ears, O God, our ancestors have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, our fathers [mothers] have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago" (Psalm 44:1).

The psalmist is speaking of the people's ancestors, as they were being delivered from the hands of the Egyptians. When we remember God's faithful deeds with our ancestors, it helps remind us of God's power an ability to care for us in the present and future.

Most of our ancestors have stories of God's delivering them from tribulation. My ancestors are no different. When my mother was four year old, she came down with a serious fever. Just as her fever hit, so did a powerful North Dakota blizzard. They lived in a tiny community of Alice, many miles from a doctor, and with no way to travel.

The family tried fluids, aspirin, even an ice bath, but nothing brought down her temperature. The family was scared she would soon die. My mother's grandfather was a man of deep faith, and he had been reading a Christian Science book entitled, Science and Health: With
Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. Her grandfather opened the book and read its prayers, and then passages of Scripture. As he read and prayed, my mother's temperature slowly but continually went down, until it was back to normal.

You can understandably claim that the aspirin kicked in, or that her body adapted and she recovered on her own. But my mother's parents and grandparents, rational and educated individuals, defended their belief that the Holy Spirit delivered my mother from death that snowy night.

If you are fortunate enough to have older family still alive, ask them about stories of God caring for your ancestors. Perhaps you remember one of those stories in your family. Tell it to someone else in your family. The events of your ancestors brought faith through the Holy Spirit. Continue that legacy by passing on the stories of deliverance the next generation. As they provided faith to previous generations, they will renew faith for generations to come.

Thirsting After God

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"As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." - Psalm 42:1-2

The deer longs for flowing streams because a flowing stream has fresh, clean water. The deer tries not to drink from stagnant water, because it is foul. Our souls long for God, because God brings the water of life.

In the Biblical world of Palestine and throughout the Middle East, life and death depended on clean water. "Thirst" is not just a desire, but a necessity for life itself.

According to The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary, "Verse 2b begins to suggest that the psalmist is exiled or at least is prevented from making a pilgrimage to the Temple to "behold the face of God." In other words, the psalmist is thirsting after God, and cannot get to the clean water.

As people of faith, we've been blessed with the gift of divine desire. When God seems distant, we notice, and long for God's intimacy to return. I feel bad for a friend who has no faith. He doesn't believe in God, but not with an atheist's fervor. He is simply "apathetic." His indifference leaves me hollow and melancholy. All passion that is not infused with the Holy Spirit, is ultimately empty.

Treat your faith with respect. God is making you thirst, and that is a gift. The thirsting calls you to the baptismal stream, where God meets you and renews your life. Do not ignore your holy thirst. It leaves you lifeless and unable to function. "Drink from the fountain of the water of life" (Rev. 21:6). When you feel the furthest from God, that very yearning is proof that God is calling you back, so you can drink in the Holy Spirit. God will never leave you thirsting for long.

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