January 12, 2021

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me—Psalm 131:2

Have you witnessed this scene: the weaned child sitting quietly, calmly on her other’s lap, just satisfied to be in her mother’s presence? What about the other one: the nursing infant who cannot be anywhere near his mother without wanting to nurse? Fretting, fussing, whining? Needing to nurse even though he has just eaten?

What a powerful picture David paints for us. These two infants, one weaned and content, the other cannot be content merely being close to its mother but needing her to produce milk. Nursing at its mother’s breast is the only activity that will quiet and calm him or her. The experienced mother knows, this will not always be. At some point the pure delight of her company and presence will replace her baby’s need to nurse.      

I wonder if David got this analogy from watching one of his own children, maybe Solomon or Absalom as a baby. Inconsolable unless he were nursing. Or maybe even a memory from the time he was a shepherd, watching over his father’s flock of sheep. Remembering the little lamb bleating, wobbling on tiny legs after its mother to let it feed. Maybe remembering himself when he was younger and still learning of the Father’s goodness and love. Neither the infant nor the lamb knows it is not really physical hunger or blessings at all, what it really longs for us intimacy and closeness.

We may be surprised to know this is as close a description we may get about how we are with the Father. As newborn babes in the faith, still infantile in our ways, fussing, fretting until the Father produces the milk—which are nothing but blessings—We long for something we can touch, hold, see, or smell, something tangible, material: a new job, a new car, a new home, a raise in pay, a long-prayed for partner for marriage, a diagnosis of healing from some disease…These are the only things that satisfy us and prove the Father’s (genuine) love and connectedness to us. if his milk of blessings do not flow, if he does not produce then something is not right, we are not satisfied, confident or calm.

What a milestone when the baby matures into a small child and can simply sit on the mother’s lap, quietly stroking her hair or looking into her eyes and be satisfied. The fussing and fretting have ceased. He or she knows they are loved and are simply happy to be in her presence.   

On this day, as he wrote this prayer David felt more like a weaned child, than a fretting infant. He must have known, like we all come to know that this is a forever tug and pull of the soul. One season we are a fretting and fussing infant, and in another season, we are more like the weaned child. He writes, “Like a weaned 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 the ultimate relationship, a red-letter day when the sheep, the child can do this with the Father. No longer needing him to produce any blessings or show evidence of love. No longer fussing or fretting, squirming, but quiet, content, trusting, satisfied, fulfilled, and at peace.

Let’s be encouraged to know fretting infant or calmed child, the Father loves us and receives us. He also knows one day we will more and more reflect the weaned child and our soul be calmed and quieted just being in his presence. Let’s Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us regardless. Whether we are those fretting infants or weaned children your love for us does not change. Thank you for understanding us and not turning us away, for not even judging us when our requests or behavior is infantile, for knowing in due season we will grow up in our faith and be satisfied and calmed just being in your presence. You are our Good Shepherd on this journey, and we praise you forevermore. in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen                             

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