Today's reading: Psalms 105-106 (106-107)
"And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Psalm 105/106:15
The "on again off again" relationship between Israel and God is a common theme in the Psalms. We see this back and forth especially well in Psalm 105/106. It is very easy for us to fall into this same pattern. From singing His praise (vs. 12) to forgetting His works (vs. 13). From standing up for justice (vs. 30) to eagerly engaging in the less praiseworthy aspects of the culture which surrounds us (vs. 35). It is difficult to maintain a consistent commitment to the Way.
The verse which is quoted above illustrates an important fact about the spiritual life. God will allow us to live however we want. We can ignore Him, pretend that He doesn't exist, forget all that He has done for us, and even reject His attempts to reach us. He will give us these "requests," but we will know that something is wrong. This "leanness of soul" that the Psalmist mentions is not sent as a punishment however, but as a call back into right relationship with God. When we are feeling a leanness of soul we should stop and ask ourselves what we are "requesting" by our manner of life.
No matter how often we have to pick ourselves up and begin back on the path towards God, we do not need to despair. Ours is a difficult journey, and it is only the strength of God that can help us along the Way. As today's reading from the book of Isaiah says, "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."