This past Saturday, on Christmas eve, long-suffering Detroit Lions fans received an early Christmas present—a decisive win over the San Diego Chargers that secured their first playoff appearance since 1999. Through a seemingly endless series of coaching changes, front-office changes, quarterback changes, and offensive strategy changes, Lions fans lived in the desert of losing. For more than a decade, they watched as other teams went to the postseason and their beloved Lions went home for the off-season, while the front office started planning for yet another year without a chance at the Super Bowl. Not this year. This year, the Lions are in—and they have a team that has the possibility of actually making some noise in the playoffs. For Lions fans, it is the end of a long dry spell, and they are finding the satisfaction of having that thirst for success quenched.
The thirst for success on the football field, however, is not even close to the harshest thirst we can know. The psalmist David wrote out of his own experience:
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).
In a season of real struggle in a literal desert, David sought deeper relief—the relief of the heart. He knew that no amount of physical thirst will ever measure up to the ache and longing He had for the relief and fulfillment that can only come from the love and mercy of God. When we allow life to disrupt our daily relationship and walk with our God, it can be like entering a spiritual desert with no relief. Only He can satisfy the hunger and thirst of our souls when, spiritually, we have been through a long dry spell.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain