O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever – Psalm 131:1-3
We live in turbulent times. There is no need to go into many details on something we are all living with every day. The perfect cultural storm is the collision of multiple issues: ethnic discrimination; injustice, pandemic, political paradigm shifts, economic uncertainty, and government mandates. In addition to all this is the growing divide among Christians about what spirituality looks like right now.
We live in difficult times. In this Psalm, David acknowledges that there are things that go beyond his ability to think his way through. The word “difficult” basically means, “be different, striking, and remarkable.” David also includes “great matters” that imply extraordinary things beyond his control. How does he meaningfully respond when life feels overwhelming and out of (his) control?
David turns his thoughts inward to what some refer to as “soul care”. Regardless of our terminology, that looking after our soul is critical. We sometimes refer to the “inner workings” of our thoughts, feelings, and being self-aware as our heart. Regardless, we all know that under certain circumstances our heart / soul can be crushed and left discouraged. In difficult times and circumstances that are beyond his ability to fix or control, David makes sure he finds a refuge for his soul.
First, it is amazing how much stress we feel over the unknown. We worry about the “what if” this happens or that happens. We often project the danger we feel now to an imminent consequence that feels real but may still only reflect possibilities with no certainty of probability. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 6:25-34 by telling us to live day by day. Being anxious about tomorrow does not solve the problems of tomorrow. Each day has enough going on to deal with what is right in front of us.
Second, David did not encourage self-diagnosis. His focus was not self-prognosis about his next course of action but to invite Israel to hope in the Lord both now and in the future. The reason his soul can rest, like a weaned child fully satisfied, is because he is resting in the Lord. When things were too overwhelming for David to cope, he found comfort in fully trusting in the Lord. The Lord is the one who can influence, change, or shape the events that are too great for him to figure out. God is as trustworthy for him as an infant is in trusting its mother.
Third, what often wears us out is trying to multi-task everything all at the same time. We come to the end of our rope (so to speak) and exhaust ourselves trying to stay in control. David surrenders to the idea that he will not solve all these issues, so he “retreats” to resting in the Lord. He is forced to trust that God will care for him as a mother would care for her infant. Life is not out of control for God.
Fourthly, David does not get caught up or “get involved” with trying to figure everything out. He is not God and even if he could get a brilliant idea to navigate these issues, it is most unlikely that he has the power to eliminate them. He encourages Israel to place their “hope” in the Lord. Hope has the idea of both waiting and hope. They are willing to wait because they are to trust the God who saved them out of Egypt will always have their best interest at heart, regardless of how unstable life appears to be.
My encouragement is to hope in the Lord and allow Him to bring a depth of peace that transcends the circumstances of life.
Sincerely in the hope of Christ,