June 20, 2019
Prayer: God the giver of all, sustain us when we thirst, remind us to drink deeply and be refreshed. Amen.
by Betty Furches
The song As the Deer written (text and music) by Martin Nystrom brings me immediately to Psalm 42:1. In whatever translation or version I read this Psalm, I am reminded of my time in the wilderness when I could not even call on the name of Jesus, when I thirsted for his goodness. During this time, I learned about what a community of faith really should be.
Eugene Peterson gives us the word for today as he wrote:
A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek, I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, “Will I ever make it – arrive and drink in God’s presence?"
As I look back at our family tragedy I can now see the hand of God but in the middle of my dryness I could not even describe my thirst. Our older son serving the Portland OR Police Force as an undercover drug dealer was leading a “sting operation” in a downtown bar frequented by known drug users and providers. His job was to quietly take out the “head dude," handcuff him and get him outside as quickly as possible. Our first born was a runner with very little body fat – probably weighing in at 140 pounds. The “head dude” was much larger – outweighing our son by at least 100 pounds.
The drug bust went badly – as our son escorted the “head dude” out of the bar that man picked up our son and hit his head against the concrete walls of the bar, threw him to the curb, and left him for dead. The others involved in the sting got to our son quickly and he was taken to the trauma center at a local hospital. The story goes on and on and continues today as our disabled (but still alive) son lives somewhat independently in his apartment with help from American with Disabilities and the Veterans Hospital.
Those first few days we were told not to come to Portland yet. I did not function for 72 hours. I couldn’t. Our pastor and our church family prayed for us, held us as we cried, tried to feed us, encouraged us to ask God for help and sustained us until we could once again drink of the living water. In those long hours we experienced the community of faith we call the Body of Christ.
Today I know how a deer longs for flowing streams…Psalm 42:1 (NRSV); for I have tasted that cool refreshment. Thanks be to God.