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.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
This is a very interesting psalm to me. Twice in this passage the psalmist uses the term weaned child, so let’s begin there.
Before a child is weaned, he approaches his mother with loud demands. The parent responds with things – dry diapers, pacifiers, bottle or breast, toys or rattles – anything that will stop the noise. (I don’t think that I need to take the time to draw the comparison between this description and the way many Christians approach God.)
The weaned child approaches the parent with no demands. He is satisfied and simply desires to be near the parent, expecting nothing in return except a pat on the head, a kiss, or a great big hug.
The Heart of a Weaned Child
Now let’s look at the heart attitude of the weaned child described in Psalm 131.
1. He is not proud. He is not driven by ambition. He is not mentally involved in things far beyond his ability to understand or control.
How many of us waste massive amounts of mental energy contemplating subjects far beyond our ability to process. We are constantly trying to figure out spiritual realities God never intended us to comprehend. We attempt to understand what God is doing in our life and in our world. It’s exhausting!
I like to think the child is willing to let the parent be the parent while he is content to be the child. From a Christian perspective, the Christian is willing to let God be God.
2. The end of the passage in the Amplified Bible reads that the child is freed from discontent. Not many kids climb up in their fathers’ laps because they are looking for a soft place to worry.
3. Now comes the hard part. The weaned child has calmed and quieted his soul. A BIG difference exists between being calmed and being quiet. A person can be quiet by sheer will power, but quiet on the outside is not necessarily quiet on the inside. Sheer determination can produce the appearance of calm while the inside is filled with anxiety, fear, overwhelming efforts to control the circumstances, or looking for a way of escape.
Calm cannot be faked. The psalm says the child has calmed his soul. No small task. The soul – the mind, the will, and the emotions – is not an easy thing to bring into a calm state. How often my mind resembles the popcorn machine at the movies with kernels flying in every direction. Calming my will and bringing it under subjection to my loving Father is a constant battle. Demanding my own way is so often my normal state. My emotions (what can I say?) erupt spontaneously and unexpectedly at the slightest provocation.
The Image of a Weaned Child
So what might this weaned child look like? When I was a little girl I had a series of books called Mother West Winds Children written by Thornton Burgess. The stories taught principles of character through the adventures of furry little woodland creatures. The books probably would not hold any interest for children today because the pictures were few and far between. Was it the stories in these books that I loved? Maybe, but mostly I think I loved them because I would climb up in my dad’s lap and he would read them to me. His strong arms would surround me as he held the book. If I leaned my head against his chest, I could hear his heart beat. No demands. No questions. No fears. No anxieties. Just nearness to my father.
A verse from an old hymn by Wade Robinson (mid 1800’s) sums it up perfectly.
Things that once were wild alarms
Cannot now disturb my rest;
Closed in everlasting arms
Pillowed on the loving breast!
O to lie forever here,
Doubt and care and self resign,
While he whispers in my ear –
I am His and He is mine.
The experience of a friend illustrates this from the perspective of the child of God with his heavenly Father. The man had been saved later in life and old things have passed away and all things have become new was a very evident reality. One night he came home from a hard day of well digging. All he could do was slump into his easy chair. He wanted to pray, but was far too exhausted to form a sentence. He told the Lord, all I can do is sit here and let you love me.
He was saying that he just wanted to be near the Father, to climb up into his lap, to lean back his head, and to hear the heartbeat of God.
How often do you come to the Father like a weaned child? Set aside your wants, your noisy demands, yes, even your prayer list. Sit on his lap with no agenda and no desire except to be close to Him.
An Original Poem
This poem is my attempt to express this from God’s perspective.
You came to Me today, you were a little rushed and stressed.
But still, I’m glad you took the time to bring Me your request.
I watched you hurry to your work and hoped some later time,
You’d come again and still yourself to feel this love of Mine.
When urgent, pressing needs arose, I was your first thought;
With turmoil all around you, I was the One you sought.
I said, “Perhaps when seas are calm, you’ll come back quietly,
And sit surrounded by My love in pure tranquility.”
When skies grew dark and valleys deep, you quickly turned to Me.
You never had the slightest doubt My comfort you would see.
I gave Myself lavishly, still waiting for the steps,
That brought you back to sit awhile and feel My loves great depths.
It brings Me joy to see you come with needs both great and small;
Because, My child, your Father’s ear is turned to every call.
But still I wait to realize My greatest joy will be
The day you come for nothing more than just to be with Me.