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. Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131:1-2
The process of weaning a child from his or her mother can be painful, but it’s necessary for healthy development and maturity. In Western culture today, weaning occurs at a young age, before the personality really starts to show. When this psalm was written, the transition away from a mother’s milk would happen much later, around the age of three.
Weaning could therefore be a confusing struggle for a child as he or she learned to go without something they had previously enjoyed. But once weaned, a child would be “calmed and quieted”; they would now understand that provision would still be made, and they would now be able to enjoy time with their mother for its own sake rather than as a means to an end. Not only that, but a weaned child would have learned that their mother knew best, even when a comfort was being withdrawn and the decision looked perplexing from their three-year-old vantage point.
As with a weaned child, it’s important for us as spiritual children to recognize that we don’t always know what’s best for ourselves. We can trust that our Father in heaven knows best. Far too often, though, our proud hearts cause us to question God’s mysterious ways. We demand to know why we are experiencing pain or trouble or loss, but without recognizing that our questions can express arrogance.
Questions are inevitable; they’re part and parcel of the journey. But true contentment is found in learning how to harness our questions. Contentment says, “Even when I can’t understand, still I can trust.” We must be careful that in our pride we don’t demand that the Potter explains why He made the pot the way He did (Isaiah 45:9). The precise will and ways of God are a mystery, but they are always good, for He is our Father.
With the Lord’s help, we can train ourselves to focus on His providence and remind ourselves that our circumstances are temporary, that our Father knows what He is doing in them, and that they cannot rob us of the joy and glory that are ultimately ours in Christ. In this our souls can be still.
In the Christian life, contentment is often gained through an experience of confusion and discomfort, as we learn to say, “My Father is in charge here and is working for my good as His child. I do not need to understand, for I can trust Him. I have Him, and He is enough for me. My soul is calm, even in this storm.” What a wonderful truth to be able to say today!
Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life: 365 Daily Devotions by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.