Devotional April 29
During this time as many people are preparing to go back to work in the coming weeks, we are faced with a new uncertainty. The first uncertainty was exactly what impact this virus would have on our country and our world, how long the shutdown of businesses and the stay at home orders would last, and when will things begin to get back to normal. Now we are faced with a different uncertainty. What does going back to work look like? Is the worst of this behind us? Are we going to face another spike? The truth is, there will always be uncertainty in our world. The only certainty is the Lord, and Psalm 131 gives us a great reminder of how to face difficult and uncertain times.
“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 with me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 131:1-3
The psalmist is laying out a very general feeling of unease in the face of uncertainty. Many of us have come to realize over the last two months that uncertainty and unease can come from many different sources. In fact, the moment we find apparent certainty in one circumstance in life, it almost seems as if new uncertainties are waiting to pop up and knock us back into that feeling of anxiety. What the psalmist portrays is an understanding that there are things that are beyond our ability to understand. That God’s plans are above our ability to comprehend at times. This means that there are times where we feel like God isn’t really in control, or maybe He doesn’t really know what He is doing, or even He is off sleeping or taking a break from holding everything together. During those times, we need to take our focus off of trying to understand exactly what God is doing and simply trust in Him.
This is often much easier said than done. The author says that he stopped trying to understand God, because He is too great and marvelous, and instead focused on calming and quieting his own soul. The example he gives of what this looks like is a weaned child with its mother. This imagery is powerful because an infant will begin to cry when it is hungry. The child does not understand the feeling or know how to process it, so he/she simply cries out knowing that his/her mother will be there to take care of the hunger. This is the kind of trust we are to have in the Lord during difficult times. When you feel worn out from trying to figure out what God is doing in your life, in the world, through different situations, step back, quiet your soul before Him and trust in His steadfast love. Be like that infant, the infant does not understand the physics and logic behind the hunger he/she feels, the infant just knows that when hunger comes, it is the mother who provides the satisfaction. The moment that infant is in the arms of his/her mother and is feeding, the crying and anxiety and worry all fades away because the child knows that he/she is safe in their mother’s arms.
So, if you are struggling today, calm and quiet your soul before the Lord. Give up trying to understand every in and out of your anxiety, and simply trust in the Lord to take care of your needs the way that infant implicitly trusts their mother. Then comes the ability to follow through on the psalmist’s closing exhortation to hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!