We need to have endurance in order to run this long race of life. In order to keep going, we need to drink deeply of God’s Word.
I once ran four-fifths of a half marathon, probably a little more. You could say the difference doesn’t really matter, but when you are the one running, it most certainly does. Every step is fought for. Every step counts.
But I wasn’t running this race alone; I had a friend running beside me and it was her very first race. This friend of mine was fairly new to running and together we had trained our muscles. Slowly but surely, through months of practice, we prepared our bodies to go the distance.
The race was harder than we expected. As it often is. The brilliant sunset the fall course ablaze with beauty, but scorched the runners along its path. And my friend forgot to drink.
I hadn’t noticed, so I failed to coach her. Focused on my own struggle, I didn’t see her decline the water offered along the way. She had set her mind on running, had a singular focus to just keep going, and did not realize that filling and fueling were not a luxury, but a necessity for finishing the race.
Part way past mile 11, dehydration overtook my running partner. Mental fortitude met its match. And she collapsed.
It was a scary moment with, thankfully, a simple solution. The medical team rehydrated her and before too long she was feeling well again. But we did not finish the race that day and it is a vivid reminder of the greater race Paul says we are running.
According to Merriam-Webster an alternate definition of the word dehydrate is to deprive of vitality or the power of enduring. We don’t have to know that definition intellectually to have lived its meaning. Many of us experience the definition of dehydration right about this time of year.
We likely begin with the best of intentions. We seek to fully embrace this season, to remember the birth of our Savior, and celebrate Him in our homes, in our traditions, with family and friends. We make and create, we go and we do – all in earnest pursuit of something beautiful – but we sometimes forget to drink deeply along the way and our vitality wanes. We feel robbed of the ability to endure.
In Psalm 63 David writes from a place of desperate dehydration. He reminds us and shows us, what it looks like to thirst for God in desert places.
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1
David recognizes his soul’s deepest need here. His thirsty soul, his fainting flesh needs God. He knows a spiritual thirst that becomes a physical need. And he gets serious about it, he remembers.
“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:2-3
David has a history with God. He has spent time with Him. He knows Him. And when dehydration hits hard, when he is deprived of vitality and the power of enduring, David remembers who God is and he praises Him. His remembering becomes an action.
“My soul will be satisfied…my mouth will praise…when I remember you…”
David’s battle plan in Psalm 63 can be life-giving to us in this beautifully demanding season as well. We too, can bring thirsty souls and drink deeply from the One who has been our help. We too can praise with joyful lips and be satisfied here. Our souls can cling to the One who has upheld and continually upholds David, you, and me, for all of eternity. Make time to drink deeply as you journey through this season, friend. Our endurance depends on it.
In His Word
Read through Psalm 63 today. Pray it as a prayer. Ask God to meet you and remind you who He has always been and who He is right here, right now, amidst all the demands of the holidays and of life.
In Your Life
What has your soul most been longing for in this season? Where have you been primarily filling and fueling? How can you make time to intentionally behold Christ and praise Him?
One helpful resource we recommend as you pursue Christ this season is Katie’s book I Choose Brave: Embracing Holy Courage and Understanding Godly Fear. This solid and theologically grounded book is an excellent tool to help know and behold Christ in this season. It makes a lovely gift to read with a friend, too!