Monday, August 1, 2016

Even as a Weaned Child

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.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalm 131 ESV)

Papa Cardinal feeding his young
Baby blue jay
Psalm 131 with its reference to "a weaned child" reminds me of two things. The first is the year I worked as a full-time nanny to an infant girl. Several times each day on the schedule her mother had laid out, I would cradle her close, an elbow supported by a throw pillow or the arm of the sofa, and give her her bottle. It was a sweet and healing time after several pivotal, painful years for me.

From time to time, however, her appetite would revive too quickly for me to feed her again. If I were holding her then, she would root around in my shirt—a futile endeavor—like a hungry piglet.

This stopped happening as she transitioned into cereal and pureed food. As she was weaned from dependence on her mother's milk as her primary nourishment, she became better able to rest in my arms without trying to get anything more from me than that closeness.

My sister's 9 year-old twins, far removed from those days and already threatening to eat Terza out of house and home, still love to lean up against their uncle or grandpa at family gatherings, not to play, not to curry favor, but just to be close, to snuggle up under the wing of someone strong whom they trust. It's so beautiful to see.

My other constant association with this Psalm is the poem "Even as a Weaned Child" by Amy Carmichael, Irish missionary to India. I've been remembering it often in recent months, especially when my heart cries no to some painful providence. Perhaps one of you crumbles may find it fortifying too.

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But no, Lord, no, that never shall be; rather,
I pray Thee, blend my human will with Thine. 
I pray Thee, hush the hurrying, eager longing;
I pray Thee, soothe the pangs of keen desire;
See in my quiet places wishes thronging;
Forbid them, Lord; purge, though it be with fire.
And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure;
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content my Well-belov├Ęd’s leisure­­­­­­—
At last, at last, even as a weaned child.
~Mountain Breezes, p. 229
He is enough. His will is best. Have we the courage to believe it and rest in Him?

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