I love reading the Psalms, and the other day I was particularly captivated by Psalm 131, the depth of its humble simplicity and the actual challenge it poses for us in modern day life, for my life in any event.
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
As a father I remember well how babies cry. Upon that cry it is comforted by giving it the breast or a bottle, a change of diaper, or just by being held close.
What attracted me so much about this Psalm I guess is the spiritual change that has taken place within David. What you quickly learn as a parent is that a weaned child leaves the initiative with the parents. It stops crying and is at peace in the knowledge or trust that it will be fed at the right time again. David became weaned like a child with its mother, calm and content, at peace.
As a result, he is no longer concerned with matters too “wonderful” or as other translations read ” too great” for him. I understand that as being occupied with matters that are actually not his concern at all, to big to take care of by himself or that are out of his hands.
We too could consider, and I am, that perhaps we should allow God to wean us from our natural arrogance that leads us to think that we are in control, that leads us to look for answers to problems that are not ours to solve, that leads us to think that we can take care of everything on our own strength. It is in this leaving the initiative with God, actually becoming childlike again (loving, dependent, and trusting, open to the world and new learning and understanding) that I found myself opened up to actually receive and learn beyond what I could ever have done myself with my needs taken care of and in a state of peace and calmness I had not known before. That is, come to think of it quite something considering the challenging circumstances here in Christchurch, New Zealand (another 5.5 aftershock the other day).
In the Lord’s prayer we ask God to give us our daily bread and that is what it comes down to I guess. Instead of trying on our own strength for more and more (our wants instead of needs), let God take care of or needs. I sounds simple and straightforward but I have found it to be one of the greatest challenges ever.
We we live in a society and world that makes us believe that we are in the center of the universe, that we are in control and that through our own efforts we can take care of our own needs, that we are in fact little gods. Such a frame of mind will result eventually in pride and arrogance making us believe that we have the answer to anything, can solve anything and need none other than ourselves to take care of our needs and wants. In fact we are made to believe that we can be our own idols that if we follow the path of the next self-help guru, we can be little gods ourselves. I know because I have been there and my journey to Christianity (back home) is filled with examples of it.
This change (like David) has been part of my journey, of becoming a Christian in the first place and in the past years poses a challenge on a daily basis still. It took me some time to realize that I was working things the wrong way around. It all is not about my agenda and my purpose for God but the other way around: His agenda and purpose for me, trusting that He probably knows better. From the moment of this realization and my (as good and as bad as I could) acting upon it things started to change and for the better. It is in this humble and dependent approach that I have found the answers to many of the questions I could not find the answer to myself, it is in this state of meekness that I have found myself stronger and most of all at peace in the knowledge that I am being looked after and it is in this state of trust that I have heard and found my calling. I may not have understood it at times, I may not have seen the logic of what was coming but I trusted and things have been changing for the better every day. That does not mean a life without challenges but it did mean being better equipped for and protected against what life is throwing at us, physically and spiritually.
I have not been disappointed and have been looked after better than I could ever have done myself with all my needs taken care of. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you give it an honest try.