Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them – Psalm 107:5
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things – Psalm 107:9
People can look impressive on the outside and be starving their heart and soul. The Hebrew term nephesh means “a soul or living being”. It includes those characteristics that define the uniqueness of the human individual.
Psalm 107 is a wonderful narrative of the goodness of God and describes four vital pictures of God’s deliverance from captivity: travelers in distress being led to a city (4-9); prisoners being released from a prison (10-16); sick individuals being restored to health (17-22) and sailors brought to a refuge (23-32).
I love the crisis and comfort element in this text that touches the very recesses of the human condition. Verse five (5) shows how physical circumstances cause the soul to faint within people. The word “faint” means to experience weakness, languish and grow weary. The circumstances of our life can suck the life right out of us. It can change the momentum of our life and destroy hope. Severe situations will undermine our dreams and diminish our enthusiasm. There is no doubt that there are many obstacles in life that are often overwhelming. We find ourselves greatly discouraged with no way to navigate the process. But while circumstances can cause our soul to faint and crumble there is a solution to those who crumble under the weight of an empty and hollow existence.
Somewhere in this journey the Psalmist makes a radical shift in focus. He moves away from the circumstances of life and frames his focus on God Himself: For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things (v. 9).
The longing soul is that life that is rushing through life. It is that soul that is in such a hurry that it skips by everything necessary in order to pursue the next thing. Literally it has the idea of rushing wildly through life. Does that not sound familiar? Our lives are in one crazy, hectic pace these days and like the Psalmist, it can cause one to faint. Fainting can include, discouragement, frustration, even anger. Some might even become depressed over their circumstances. In these times we discover that we cannot just “handle everything”. We cannot simply ignore that we are overwhelmed or feel out of control.
But the Psalmist is not content to simply manage everything and survive. He does not take pride in his own ability to multi-task an enormous work load. His sense of victory does not come in completing the checklist. It is not about being so busy I do not have time for self-care. The Psalmist fills up his soul by being satisfied in a person and that person is God Himself.
It is very easy to try and feed your soul with our accomplishments or in our circumstances. God wants us to satisfy our soul in Him. It takes a courage and faith to allow God to satisfy us rather than define that ourselves. It is the only way to find rest for our soul and fully satisfy the longing of our heart.
In His grace,