Pause

Give me a Jesus who meets me in the rushing, crashing waters of my questions. Let me stand precariously close to the dark and menacing skies of doubt, so I can hear the fierce and gentle loving voice of my Jesus who drowns out my fears and stands just beyond my questions with open arms.

Michael Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder (1998)

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Listen

Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face? My tears have been my food both day and night, as people constantly questioned me, “Where’s your God now?”

But I remember these things as I bare my soul: how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode, to God’s own house, with joyous shouts and thanksgiving songs— a huge crowd celebrating the festival! Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God.

Psalm 42:1-5

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Think

One of the first “contemporary” worship songs I knew was based off this Psalm. Here’s a part of the lyrics: “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee. … You alone are my strength, my shield. To you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship Thee” (from “As the Deer” by Martin Nystrom, 1995).

I can’t say I’ve always lived that singular desire toward God expressed in this Psalm, but when I allow the question to be asked, “Where’s your God now?” I am reminded, like the Psalmist, that I am part of the great company of God, the communion of saints celebrating and worshiping God. We are invited and welcomed into this great company. In that reflection, I find myself nearer than I thought to the waters of renewal, to the fresh streams of new life.

Byron Vance

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Pray

O Lord, I admit that I am not always focused on your love, that I’ve got many things running through my mind and running my life. Guide me to see how you change me, from the inside out, so that by your grace I become more like you each day. Amen.

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Go

Stay awake that you may see the many ways God is with you each day.

Byron Vance

Byron Vance is a United Methodist minister serving as Senior Pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Pell City, Alabama. He gets to share life with spouse Kelly, two teenage boys, a dog, a cat, and the occasional squirrel in the crawl space. Byron served as a PASSPORT summer staff in 1997.

Inside and Out

Jon Chacko

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