From Desolation to Hope

Have you ever been really thirsty?

Years ago, a friend and I traveled to Japan to research the life of a missionary who served there during World War II. After three days of interviews, we were taking the bullet train to another city to continue our work. Waiting in the terminal and feeling exhausted from jet lag and a hectic schedule, we felt weary and thirsty.

Linda offered to find something to quench our thirst while I stayed with our luggage. Worried she’d return with a small cup half full of ice, I measured twelve inches with my hands and called as she walked away, “I can drink something this big!”

Minutes later I saw her coming with a huge grin and two 1.25-liter Cokes!

I know what it is to be thirsty, and I know what it is to thirst for God.

From childhood I’d read the Bible as a duty believers check off their to-do list. No depth. No serious study. No consistent daily meeting with the Lord. No application to my daily walk.

After leaving a successful journalism career to stay home with my two small children, I felt thirsty. I longed to know God better and to access his wisdom.

While my little ones napped, I nestled in a living-room chair and opened my Bible to spend time with God. Using its concordance, I did word studies on anger, discouragement, fear, negative thinking (personal struggles).

Would practicing Jesus’ words impact my life? I read the Gospels, paying attention to His words printed in red.

Seeking a better grasp of biblical events, I bought a chronological Bible. Although I’d read enough to know what happened next, I could hardly put it down.

Reading the Psalms, I highlighted references to “I cry, God hears.”

The more I studied, the greater my thirst. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37b).

As I started memorizing promises and applying them to my circumstances, something amazing happened. I began believing God! “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).

After my children started to school, I met the Lord in the mornings in a new location—a closet with barely room for a small desk and chair. Scooting the chair behind me, I could close the door and shut out the world. Jesus talked about entering a closet to pray. I felt a sweet sense of His presence in that place.

Receiving guidance through Scripture and His quiet voice in my heart, I discovered He cares about every detail of our lives. No concern is too small to take to Him in prayer. What an awesome privilege to meet with God—to adore Him, seek counsel, hand over cares, confess failures, accept His cleansing.

Often I’ve gone to my prayer closet feeling desolate. Always I’ve left renewed and filled with hope. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1).

I love meeting God in the morning, giving Him my uncontaminated day. I come thirsty and He fills me up.

In Jeremiah 30:21, the Lord asks a penetrating question: “who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?”

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