Song of Quiet Trust A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Psalm 131 - NIV
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.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
PSALM 131 - Reflection from Bishop Pat Storey
The book of psalms is probably my favourite in the whole of Scripture. All emotion is there – from anger to frustration to praise to peace. The psalmist always displays humanity. I could have picked many psalms as my most treasured one, but actually there is no contest. It is psalm 131.
This is perhaps not the psalm you would expect a bishop to pick. Psalm 131 is all about letting go and losing control – not something for which we are renowned! I love this psalm because it depicts a state of absolute trust and contentment in the sovereignty of God. When you are in the middle of a church crisis, or broken relationships between people, or indeed personal pain, this psalm reminds you to slow down, let go, and trust. I am not very good at this, although circumstances are teaching me to be better. We are so used to doing, achieving, and influencing, that it can be the hardest thing of all to allow God to do His stuff. This psalm reflects on our vulnerability and weakness – again, not a state that I enjoy being in, and yet it is the position in which we experience the most profound contentment. When I let God be God, and me be me, and ‘I do not occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me’, true trust can be discovered.
When a mother feeds a baby from her breast, the baby experiences deep satisfaction and repose. Psalm 131 indicates that it is this kind of peacefulness that we can experience: ‘I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother.’ In a world where what is valued is eternal busyness, endless working hours, and constant online presence, this kind of switching off and switching out is a rare thing indeed.
However, the kind of contentment that is spoken of is dependent upon the verse I have already quoted: ‘I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.’ Sometimes those of us who are employed by the church can think that we are occupying ourselves with great and marvelous things at times - but those things belong to God. He is the one in charge. He is Lord. We would do well to remember that.
The final result? ‘My soul is like the weaned child’. Satisfied; replenished; trusting.