Image courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art
I think this passage really brings out how continually and deeply desperate our hearts are, for being filled with meaning, and beauty, and companionship, and comfort, and adventure. In fact, it's excruciatingly painful when our hearts have nothing inside them to feed on. Just like a stomach that feels pangs when it has nothing in it.
And I think that it's actually the person who is really seeking and working hard everyday to not find our satisfaction in the things of this world, though they are so beautiful and glorious and promising, who truly is seeking to be satisfied only on Jesus most, feels the most schizophrenic and depressed, actually on a regular basis. I remember hearing stories about how Luther (and other church history heroes) was depressed to the point of being bedridden, which he would feel regularly. Well I now think that this is not some psychosis or physical malady, I now think it's a natural result of a heart that seeks to be satisfied on Christ and yet is fallen and naturally keeps needing a fresh portion and supply of manna everyday, every hour, and the reality is that we're just not yet that good at maintaining this because we're not yet arrived at our final condition, of having resurrected bodies and souls on a new Earth with a sinless heart.
Therefore, the Christian life is not easy. It's a matter of fighting our souls to let go of the temporal things that are so promising, things we long to latch on to that seem satisfying and beautiful which this world is offering you. The Christian life is a fight to let go of those promising things and instead fight ourselves to go to what can feel like a boring, empty endeavor of forcing ourselves to turn once again to the means of Grace of prayer and Scripture, on a regular basis, to get our hearts satisfied with the only thing that can truly satisfy our hearts, which is the power and the beauty and the affection and the tenderness and the adventure of the person of Christ, who is for us and living in us through his Spirit. This activity is spiritual food for us and our spirits quickly and continually get hungry again.
Let us keep being honest, like this Psalm, about our deep longing. We deeply long for satisfaction....and comfort.....and beauty. ...like a deer, dehydrating...to death.
Go to prayer. Go to his Word. Drink. Eat.