My soul is like a weaned child.Psalm 131:2
One great sign of a child’s growth is when they begin to feed on solid food instead of a mother’s milk. Those first few months are pivotal to the child’s health and set the foundation for the growth of their baby. When a child cries at such a young age, they need the constant help and support of their mother. She soothes them, reminds them she is there by a soft touch, a gentle song, or by feeding their hungry belly. All of this sets a strong tone of love for the child. They begin to trust that mom has the resources and she will give them at just the right time. But soon, as most of us know, they begin to need something different. Not to be mistaken for something less, children begin to depend more on the nutrients of solid food and less on the infant’s need for milk.
Jesus deals with those who first come to know Him in a similar way. The nearness of His presence is felt often. The stomach doesn’t have to growl long before the satisfaction of His word comes. There isn’t much waiting or feeling the pressure and anxiety of life. It is very much a newborn stage of comfort and love. Yet, this is not where we are most taught. We feel awesome but our souls have not quite had to exercise dependence or trust. That is for those who are growing into mature adulthood and out of adolescence. And just as we must let our children experience the pain of growing up for their good, much more so does our Heavenly Father do the same.
This Psalm reminds us of what it looks like to be mature and content in Christ.
“I do not get involved with things too great or too wonderful for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like a weaned child.”Psalm 131: 1-2
The picture is of a soul that is convinced of their Father’s love without the constant affirmation of His provision and presence. Not that we need less of God’s presence but a sign of maturity is to go throughout our days not gauging His goodness by how often we feel Him or experience the satisfaction of our appetites. Maturity looks like simply resting in the fact that we know He is there (Matthew 28:20), food is coming (Isaiah 55:2), and His provision is sure (Philippians 4:19). God’s character has been proven to us enough that we can experience peace when questions go unanswered, His voice seems faint, His nearness feels far, or the longings of our souls feel fierce.
This calm comes from those early days of tenderness and care. Those might be the days you are in right now. Rejoice! God is laying down a strong foundation for you to lean on in the coming days of growth. But for those who are experiencing the growing pains of life, (as I currently am), this Psalm encourages us to pray for this contentment of spirit underneath the trials of life. This is a calm that reflects maturity. This is a contentment that glorifies His majesty. And it is one to hold onto when the days are dark, growth is painful, and the burden is heavy. God is doing major strengthening within us for the work ahead of us. Babies enjoy the blessing of their mother’s constant nearness but they aren’t able to do much are they?
So whatever it is that you are feeling— comfort or growing pains— remember our hope is never to be placed in our surroundings. The hope of our souls will find its greatest strength in Who God is. So lean in. Don’t give up. Remember His love and care. Remember the cross that is your greatest example of just how far our God will go to draw us near. Cheer up. Our growth means He isn’t done with us yet.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, both now and forever.Psalm 131: 3