Francois Fenelon, a 17th century French archbishop, has helped me over the years on my spiritual journey. He had this to say about the soul. “In order to make your prayer more profitable, it would be well from the beginning to picture yourself as a poor, naked, miserable wretch, perishing of hunger, who knows but one man of whom he can ask or hope for help; or as a sick person, covered with sores and ready to die unless some pitiful physician will take him in hand and heal him. These are true pictures of our condition before God.. ….your soul is infinitely more sin-sick than that sore stricken patient, and God alone can heal you.”
I assume that most men reading this blog have not been told they have a “sin sick” soul. The “lukewarm” believers in the Laodicean church, who said, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing,” are described by Jesus as “wretched, pitful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev 3:16-17). When you are lukewarm, you neglect the health of your soul and become sin-sick. Speaking to the Pharisees, who assumed they were spiritual healthy, Jesus observed, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” We are “sin-sick,” in need 0f the great Physician, who “took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matt. 8:17).
The Psalmist was very aware of his needy soul. He described it as being thirsty. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Ps 42:2). He is describing a withered landscape in which he is longing for relief. He is aware that only God can satisfy his thirst. Remember Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13). The invitation is to come. “”The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev 22:17). So in simple terms – admit your neediness and come to Jesus to find relief.
The Psalmist also talked about yearning for God. He knew his deepest desires were for God. “”My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Ps. 84:2). A loud vocal crying for God is implied. In Psalm 6:3 the Psalmist declares, “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long.” Men, take time to monitor your inner life. Learn to slow down to hear what your soul is telling you. Below the inner chatter is the deep longing of your soul for fellowship with God. It is like a “soul-ache.”
Pay attention to your soul. This means taking some time to just wait. In Ps 130 the Psalmist begins with a cry for help. “Help God – the bottom has fallen out of my life! Master, hear my cry for help! Listen hard! Open your ears! Listen to my cries for mercy” (Ps 130:1-2 – Message). Then he adds, “I pray to God – my life a prayer – and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning ” (vs. 5-6).
Men, it is in the waiting that healing comes to a sin-sick soul. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” (Ps 23:1-3)