My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Psalm 131:1-2, Of David
Not long ago, we were visiting our daughter and her family to help with a small household project. During the course of the afternoon, she found that she needed to make a brief run to the store. Unfortunately, our 2-year-old grandson was in a “nobody but Mommy will do” phase (everyone’s been there, right?). Despite the best efforts of Daddy, Nonna, and Papa, the little guy was completely inconsolable until his Mommy returned; but the moment she walked in the door, he was in her arms and perfectly content!
I was reminded of that picture as I meditated on Psalm 131 while taking a walk this morning. As I walked, I paid attention to the various things causing anxiety or unsettledness in my spirit, and then began naming each situation and person as I visualized placing those cares in the Lord’s hands. There always seem to be so many things that I want to fix or make better; but I was reminded again by David’s words that it all begins with humility—not “concerning myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me,” but instead submitting myself and those I love utterly into His hands. That is the only way forward in the journey to obtain a calm and settled soul.
I noted, too, that David says, “I have stilled and quieted my soul.” He had discovered that this was a discipline which was possible to learn and practice. While I feel certain David faced this battle numerous times throughout his life, as most of us mere mortals do, in this particular circumstance he experienced victory. He accomplished this victory by intentionally releasing his thoughts and emotions into His Father’s care, and then resting beneath Love and Sovereignty. This humble place of rest brings to David’s mind the picture of a small child nestling without fear into the embrace of his mother. Like my grandson, who no longer fussed and fretted about the things he did not understand once his mother was again present with him, we too can experience the security and contentment of Presence.
The Keil and Delitzsch commentary beautifully describes David’s mindset in this passage:
“He has levelled or made smooth his soul, so that humility is its entire and uniform state; he has calmed it so that it is silent and at rest, and lets God speak and work in it and for it; it is like an even surface, and like the calm surface of a lake.”
My fretting has its root in a lack of humility and trust, whenever I choose to leave the protected embrace of my Father to try to “fix” the people or situations that concern me. Only in the place of humility can we so rest in God that cares are released, and we trust Him to speak and work as He will.