Throughout the western United States, the Ponderosa Pine is one of the kings of the forest. These trees can grow extraordinarily tall with the highest recorded Ponderosa measured at 282 feat. They also have protective bark that can be up to 4″ thick to help preserve the core of the tree in extreme heat and fire. These incredible wonders of creation can live to be 500 years old.
But have you considered where they grow? They grow on the top and sides of mountains. You see them where the soil is rocky, dense and shy on water. They can do this because of their amazing root system. The main tap root can go as deep as 30’ and their horizontal root system can extend out to 150’. All this in search of water.
The writer of Psalm 42 is parched in his soul. He is experiencing a series of difficulties and a bout of depression. He is a long distance from the temple where he not only worships, but also serves as the music director. So not only can’t he gather with God’s people, he cannot perform the work of service he excels at. Beyond that he is taunted by sceptics who ask him where his God has gone (v3). He is feeling overwhelmed (v7), and he is frustrated with God as to why he is not acting quickly on his behalf (v9). Out of these challenging circumstances he writes the familiar words in verses one and two.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. Ps. 42:1-2a
He is desperate. He longs and pants for the thirst-quenching presence and provision of God. Nothing else will suffice. No one but God can heal his languishing soul and relieve the emotional pain he is experiencing. He knows if he just gets up close to God, taking his eyes of his circumstances and onto the face of his redeemer, that his deepest longings will be fulfilled. Peace will come and strength will be found.
The Ponderosa Pine is on a relentless, never ending, never daunted pursuit of water and nourishment. And as a result, it can survive, and even grow, during stress, fire, drought and difficulty. Do you have that same thirst for the life-giving and life-saving presence of God? Ultimately nothing else will satisfy you. Nothing.
Live this week on purpose,