A Song of Ascents, of David
1 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.
2 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.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Several times in my struggles of the last several months, a friend has recommended that I reflect on Psalm 131 for comfort. To be honest, I found it hard to understand how a weaned child related to my situation until she and I discussed it further. She reminded me that a nursing baby is restless and searching for food, but a weaned child is easier to just hold. He trusts in the mother to provide for his needs and doesn’t need to keep fretting in an attempt to resolve his problems. As a result, he can rest peacefully.
I want to rest peacefully, and at times, I do. However, reflection on Psalm 131 is teaching me how God helps us achieve this desirable state more often. When I consider all my recent losses, I grieve and sometimes spend much time and effort attempting to resolve a situation so that it is more to my liking. I don’t want to be deprived of what I previously enjoyed. At such times, I am in the midst of the confusion of being weaned from involving myself in great matters too difficult for me to understand.
Child-like Humility Produces Peace by Jon Bloom (Desiring God)
A recently weaned child is a child who has experienced deprivation, disappointment, confusion, and grief. Such a child who has quieted his soul and is peacefully sitting beside his mother, no longer demanding what has been denied to him, is a child who has submitted his will to his mother’s will. The reasons why being denied his mother’s breast is the best thing for him are still “too great” for him to understand…[A] weaned child is the picture of peaceful humility that illustrates David’s hope in God. David does not fully understand the reasons for his deprivation, disappointment, confusion, and grief. He has endured struggle, dismay, and tears. But now he sits in peace beside his divine Parent, chastened and humbled and willing to trust that God knows what’s best for him.
Looking at Psalm 131 more closely reveals that I cannot achieve the peaceful state of being weaned (verse 2) until I am humble enough to not worry about things that are out of my control (verse 1). To peacefully rest on God’s breast, I must realize, accept, and trust that He knows more than I do about what is best for me; His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9). Each loss must be for a good reason that I do not need to understand. My struggle results when I pridefully hold too tightly to my own desires.
From “The Weaned Child” by Charles Surgeon
[H]e had at last conquered his desires, his longings, his pinings. The weaning child has his desires strong upon him and he frets. But the weaned child is content, his desires lie still. And the child of God, when sufficient grace has come, feels no desires for that which once delighted him. He submits himself so completely to his Father’s will that, if he is to do without, he does without.
Is it hard to “do without”? At times, it certainly seems so based on the number of tears I have recently shed. However, Paul describes it as something that can be learned (Philippians 4:11):
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13, emphasis added)
The “learning” Paul explains seems to me to be the same as the “weaning” that David describes in his psalm. It is a painful process, but if peaceful rest is the outcome, it is worth it. My soul can be “composed and quieted” as I “hope in the Lord” (Psalm 131), rather than my desires. I can learn to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
“Let it always be sufficient for you to think that you are where God put you.”
From “Contentment” by Charles Surgeon