Walking with the Lord for these many years, I can recall times when my heart was filled with passion and my longing to pursue Him and experience life with Him seemed so much greater. I have moments when such times seem only to be vague memories–when my Spirit-given enthusiasm for a vibrant palpable life with the living God feels a bit too foreign.
Psalm 84 stirs me. The psalmist wrote: “How lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.” (Psalm 84:2, 10) And I think, “Is my heart stirred as deeply? Am I thrilled with being in God’s manifest presence? Would I trade a thousand days ‘going through the motions of life’ to have a fresh experience of His presence for one day?”
As I take a spiritual thermometer reading of my soul, at times I find that there is little passion, little fervor, little genuine warmth for God. Yes, I know Him. Yes, I haven’t given up on my relationship with Him. But it can feel tepid. I don’t feel what I long to feel, what the psalmist felt, what I know I have tasted before. So, what hope is there when I don’t feel the passion pictured in the Psalms?
I stumbled upon words of comfort in what the Lord did for His people, as recounted in the book of Haggai.
Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, “‘I am with you,’ declares the LORD.” So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zurubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. (Haggai 1:13-14)
It is encouraging to see that the people, who had grown lax and a bit despondent in their relationship with God, were not abandoned to that condition. God undertook to stir their hearts! He stirred up their spirits. He revived them.
I can cry out with the psalmist:
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I shall praise You, O God, my God. (Psalm 43: 3-4)
That’s what I want–to experience God as the God of my exceeding joy. I need God to lead me to Himself so that I might find Him to be all that. And the words in Haggai and the cry of the psalmist remind me that God is in the business of reviving my heart, stirring my soul, enlivening me again and again and again.
I will again praise Him with all my soul!