As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1–2)
What makes this so beautiful and so crucial for us is that he is not thirsting mainly for relief from his threatening circumstances. He is not thirsting mainly for escape from his enemies or for their destruction.
It’s not wrong to want relief, and to pray for it. It is sometimes right to pray for the defeat of enemies. But more important than any of that is God himself.
When we think and feel with God in the Psalms, this is the main result: We come to love God, and we want to see God and be with God and be satisfied in admiring and exulting in God.
A likely translation of the end of verse 2 is: “When will I come and see the face of God?” The final answer to that question was given in John 14:9 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” And Paul said that when we are converted to Christ we see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
When we see the face of Christ, we see the face of God. And we see the glory of the face of Christ, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 6, when we hear the story of the gospel of his death and resurrection. He calls it “the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Or (verse 6): “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
May the Lord increase your hunger and your thirst to see the face of God. And may he grant your desire, even today, through the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.