How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalms 84:1-2
Have you ever wanted something very badly? Fred Butler of Beverly, Massachusetts, did. More than anything, Butler wanted to graduate from high school. He wanted a high school diploma.
Because life got in the way, Butler was never able to attain that dream.
Understand, it wasn't entirely Butler's fault. He had to drop out of the ninth grade to work full time in a print shop. His earnings put food on the table for his mother and five younger brothers and sisters. Then there was World War II. After the war, he found true love and got married. Together he and his bride raised five children.
It was only after his wife of 65 years died that Butler's thoughts returned to the high school diploma he had never received. There was only one problem: he was now 106 years old.
Knowing Butler's longing -- his state, his community, and his relatives came together and gave him an honorary high school degree. With diploma in hand, and mortar board hat and tassel on his head, he joyfully said, "I thank everybody who is responsible for this ... I certainly appreciate it."
So, have you ever wanted something very badly? Have you ever longed for something with all your heart? You know, like Butler longed for a diploma, and the Psalmist longed to be in the court of the living God.
Yes, that's right. More than anything else, the Psalmist wanted to be in fellowship with the Lord who had made him, redeemed him, called him, and was keeping him.
So, I wonder, is being in harmony with God high on your list of longings?
Most people, if they are being honest, would say, "I don't think so." That's because for many of those people God has become a non-entity, a powerless fantasy from humanity's past. No, their longings are for more practical things: things like wealth, position and power. That's sad. It's sad because such things are both flawed and fleeting.
Far better for us to long for, to faint for, to seek out "the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (see Matthew 6:33).
This leads me to offer this reminder: if you are moved to seek out the Lord, you can do it all at home, as you study His Word and come to Him in prayer. You can do it all this Sunday in church, where you sing His praise and hear His message from the pulpit.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world keeps coming up with things I simply "must have." Give me the kind of heart which first, foremost and always longs to be in the presence and service of my crucified and risen Savior. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries