(1) O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. (2) But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (3) O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. — Psalm 131
Have you ever felt as ‘helpless as a baby’? Is your life completely under your control? Or, have you found that this world will throw all kinds of trials, trouble, and tribulations at you, sometimes all at once! And yet, as Christians, we are called to weather the troubles and consider them all joy. How is this? How are we supposed to attain this perspective of peace in the midst of the hardships of this life?
Psalm 131 gives us three insights to achieving this perspective, from the view of a small child. First, the psalm reminds us of our limitations before God. Second, we are reminded to receive comfort and nourishment from God. And lastly, we are called to remember how the Lord has provided for us continually in the past, present and into the future.
(1) O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
At two months old we are still utterly dependent upon our parents for survival. As babies, we are limited in every way, including only being able to recognize people and objects that are within eighteen inches of us! As adults, the Lord calls us to continue to realize our limitations – our finiteness – in view of His limitlessness. When we humbly recognize that we can’t know it all, we can’t control everything, and we can’t be everywhere to work everything out favorably, we then begin to realize that we need to become dependent upon our heavenly Father, who can do all those things. In Romans we are reminded of His loving-kindness, that, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The first step in a perspective of peace is coming to terms with our finite and limited nature, which is exactly what God created us to be, so that we would become dependent upon Him. We need Him for salvation. We need Him for everlasting life. We need Him who knows all things, can do all things, and is constantly present to care for us. Because, let’s face it – we can’t.
(2) But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Have you ever seen a child who is so hungry it is almost impossible to feed them? You put the food into their mouths only to watch it fall out as they cry out and plead for the comfort of the very nourishment that you are trying to give to them! They are not satisfied or comforted until they allow themselves to be fed. In the same way, we must allow the Lord’s nourishment to get into our bodies, through reading, praying, and fellowshipping, as we endure the discomforts and hungering that this world produces in us. God has provided us with the bread of His Word. When times are difficult, we need to find ourselves sitting down to a good meal of God’s Word! Spend time with the Lord, listening to what He has to say to you through Scripture, allowing yourself to take in the spiritual nourishment that He provides. Pray to Him. Cry like a baby! The Lord wants to hear from you and He can take it. If doubt of this has entered your mind, read the Psalms where time and again David cries out in trial, pleading and in angst, wondering what God is doing. Read Psalm 13. Then spend time with those who will build you up in your walk with Christ. Fellowship with other believers who can help you to shoulder your burdens (Gal. 6:2), and encourage you. God has given us a family in Christ for just these times. Then as you receive comfort in reading, prayer, and fellowship, settle down and lean into the chest of your heavenly Father who cares for you.
(3) O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.
Finally, we are called to remember how the Lord has established hope for us. He has carried us through trials in the past. He will carry us through this time as well. God has stated to us in His word that He will not leave us, will not forsake us, and no one can take us from His hand! What great promises! What a great foundation of hope! Remember what the Lord has already done, and look to the future with hope and a perspective of peace.