Weaned Children with their Mommas
My one-year old daughter Penelope has a very strong relationship with my wife, Andra. She is able to convey feelings of joy, hunger, and frustration to Andra, and she does it without using a single verbalized word.
Whenever Penelope communicates with Andra, it never fails-Andra always responds:
If Penelope expresses joy because she has figured out how to stand herself up, Andra responds with cheers.
If Penelope cries, Andra responds with comforting words.
If Penelope is dirty, Andra responds by cleaning her up.
If Penelope is stuck under a chair (which seems to happen a lot!), Andra responds with guidance and help.
What I'm noticing more and more is that Penelope only knows how to be herself with Andra. She never tries to clean herself up or stop herself in the middle of meltdown to make herself presentable to Andra. Instead, she continuously enjoys a beautiful, uninhibited, and unfiltered relationship her mom that is deeply intimate and full of trust. And such intimacy and trust naturally pave a way for growth and development to occur within a person.
In the same way that Penelope enjoys intimacy with Andra, we too can enjoy intimacy with the LORD. Just as Penelope can rely on her mom to respond to her needs, we too can learn to rely on God to provide and care for us. In Psalm 131, the psalmist prays:
131:1 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.
Notice, the writer admits he has not acted presumptuously and has not occupied himself with things beyond his realm of understanding. Instead, he has learned to be calm and content "like a weaned child with its mother."
What is significant about "a weaned child with its mother?" Why did the psalmist choose that phrase? A weaned child is someone who has completed nursing. They no longer need what they were constantly receiving beforehand. They have grown and learned to be comfortable, content, and calm in a new stage of life.
The psalmist is saying that he, too, has grown and learned how to be content and calm in his relationship with the LORD. He trusts that the LORD will lead him and reveal to him the things he needs to know when he needs to know them.
How does a person become that content in life? How does a person become "like a weaned child?"
Weaned children learn how to be calm and comfortable in life when their needs are consistently met. In other words, when a child is stuck, a mother responds. When a child cries, a mother responds. When a child is happy, a mother responds. When a child is hurt, a mother responds.
We can learn how to be truly calm and content in life when we discover that there is a God who longs to respond to us. We see how this is true throughout the Psalms. Over and over again we encounter people singing praises to God for the ways he has provided and responded (cf. Psa. 98; 99; 100; 107; 125). We encounter people drawing strength from remembering the great things God has done in history (cf. Psa. 103-106). And because God has responded in history, we find people making vows and commitments to their Heavenly Father (cf. Psa. 101; 116), and we find others who boldly cry out to God for deliverance (cf. Psa. 102; 109; 120; 130).
These people were unfiltered and uninhibited in their communication with God, just like my daughter Penelope is unfiltered with her mother.
The best way to become a calm and content person in life is to maintain an unfiltered conversation with the LORD and to trust that He will, in fact, respond. As we learn to articulate every crevice of our souls to God, we will become calmer and steadier people who look like weaned children with their mommas.
~ Oliver Hersey
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