I recently did a study on the topic of “Desperate for GOD”. As I was pondering these words, I felt the LORD speak to me and ask me “well are you?” It made me stop and I had to ask myself “AM I DESPERATE FOR GOD?”
Although not applauded in our society, it is truly an awesome thing to be DESPERATE FOR GOD! As I began to examine my life I sadly realized my own lack of desperation for God. It seems that I am more desperate for: success at work, things at home, the latest gadget – all instead of being desperate for GOD. In the world we may be told that desperation is a bad thing, but I believe Scripture actually shows something else. In fact, from God’s perspective there are many blessings and even promises in Scripture that cannot be received except through being desperate for GOD. Matthew 6:33 tells us to “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…”, literally if you get Desperate for GOD and seek HIS FACE and HIS PRESENCE, HE will supply your needs! What an awesome promise. So then why don’t I seek HIM like this? Why am I not as Desperate for GOD as I should be? Do I even understand what it means to be Desperate for God?
This last question led me down a journey to understand the “What”, “Who”, “Why”, “When” and “Where”of being Desperate for GOD. Will you join me on the journey?
Let’s take a look at the first question: What does it mean to be desperate for GOD? I believe we really don’t know what the word desperate means, do we? We live in a culture where we are rarely “in want” for anything. The dictionary defines desperate as an adjective meaning (at least the meaning we will focus on) having an urgent need, desire, etc.: desperate for attention. So that means that Desperation only comes when there is a recognized need that is beyond our own ability to meet. Literally this means having a deep desire, a passion, a yearning that can ONLY be satisfied by the presence of our HOLY GOD.
There are several portions of scripture that tell us about being desperate for GOD. Matthew 5:6 tells us “…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…” Literally blessed are those who are desperate for GOD for they will be filled. As I looked at this I realized that in our country in this generation, we don’t really know what it really means to be hungry and thirsty. Most of us can open our refrigerator, go to “Kroger’s” or stop by “Chick-fil-a” anytime we want to satisfy our hunger. If we are thirsty all we have to do is turn on the faucet and we can satisfy our thirst. Most of us have never really known the desperation of Hunger or Thirst, but the crowd that was listening to Jesus speak these words, understood exactly what he meant. They understood desperation because they didn’t have the conveniences that we are blessed with in this country. Mother Teresa – missionary to India once wrote, “People in India are physically hungry. People in America are spiritually hungry. That makes people in India better off, because Americans don’t know they are starving.” Without Jesus we all have an emptiness – even if we don’t realize it – but when we Hunger and Thirst for JESUS, that emptiness is filled.
The Psalms are full of examples of a man who was “Desperate for GOD”.
Psalm 42 starts by stating “…as the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God”. Notice it mention that the deer was worried about the hunter in the woods…it doesn’t mention that “Bambi” was looking for his best friend “Thumper”…it doesn’t mention that the deer was looking for a new place to settle down…it doesn’t even mention that the deer was looking for a vacation at the beach…all the deer wanted was “living water”! The description is of a totally dehydrated creature with only one thought…get me to the “living water”.
Did you know that the word used here in the Greek that is translated as “water brooks” literally means “perennial springs which never run dry” and is also used in Jermiah 2:13; 17:13?
A few pages later we find Psalm 63. Right from the first words we hear a cry of a man desperate for GOD. “O God you are my God! I shall seek you earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Now THAT sounds like the cry of a man desperate for the presence of GOD! The back story to this Psalm is that David is running for his life from his son Absalom, who has planned to kill him and take the throne (2 Sam. 15:23, 28). David left his palace, left his throne and was hiding in the Judean Wilderness. It is amazing to notice that he doesn’t say anything in this Psalm about missing his throne, or missing his riches or missing the power of his position. He doesn’t even mention the trouble with his son. All he wants is the presence of GOD.
How about Psalm 69? The psalmist uses phrases like: “Save me, O GOD, for the waters have come up to my neck…”, “…My eyes fail, looking for my GOD…”, “…You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you…But I pray to you, O Lord…”, “…O God, answer me…”, “…O Lord, out of the goodness of your love, in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant…”, “…come near and rescue me; redeem me…”! When was the last time I prayed like this? To me, this speaks of desperation beyond reason, beyond logic, beyond caring about what other people think, beyond caring about what may be happening in the world around you. It is a cry from deep within that can only be fulfilled by GOD.
I once heard a story of a seminary student who was given a final assignment to write a theological paper on the topic of “being desperate for GOD”. The student was a “straight A” student, but the professor was tough. Ultimately the student received a bad grade from his professor and instead of just accepting it he went to see his professor.
The student bravely went before the old professor and said “how could you give me such a bad grade on this assignment, everything was theologically and grammatically correct, I checked sources, made superior arguments and did everything right!”
The professor told the Seminary student “it was because you did not understand desperation”.
The student began to argue with the professor and tried to make his point on why he did understand desperation and why he deserved a better grade. The professor asked the student to join him at the back of the room so that he could show him something. He brought the student to a large fish tank and asked the student to look into it. He then asked him what he saw. The student began to describe the contents of the fish tank at which point the professor asked him to “look deeper”. As soon as the student began to peer over the edge of the tank, the old professor took both of his hands and pushed the students head into the water holding his head under the water.
The students began fighting but he was at a disadvantage, his arms were flailing, he was dying. When he was almost to the end, the professor let him up. The student began gasping for air. He sputtered “Are you crazy!?!?! Why did you do that???? I couldn’t breathe! Why would you try to kill me?”
The professor responded with a question, “when you were in the water what was it you wanted?”
“AIR” shouted the student!
“You mean you weren’t thinking about your grades or your paper or your career or your possessions or anything else?” replied the wise professor.
“No, ALL I WAS THINKING ABOUT WAS AIR…JUST AIR” cried the student “I WAS DESPERATE FOR…air…”.
The Professor looked at the student and smiled at him and said, “now you get it…that is desperation, when that is all that you can think of, all that consumes you.”
He then asked the student “are you that desperate for GOD”?
Am I that desperate for GOD? If we want to see a change in our world, in our country, in our town, in our neighborhood, in our church, we need to be that Desperate for GOD! God promises that when we are desperate for Him – seeking HIM, we will find Him! “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6-7).
Join us next week as we look at the “Who”, “Why”, “When” and “Where” of being Desperate for GOD. While you are waiting, enjoy the video below of the song “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.
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