Content to “be”…

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Psalm 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. 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.

This is a wonderful psalm that illicits two key thoughts from me:

  1. v.1 offers a picture of humility from the writer. He may not “occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me”, but the tone of the psalm indicates this was not always the case. Whatever disobedience and vain ambition he once exhibitied are now gone.
  2. “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child” offers a picture of inner peace and satisfaction. Like a child who has been satisfied at his mother’s breast, his belly is full and he is content to simply BE with his mother.

Being 49 years old, turning 50 next summer, means I’m probably on the back half of life – more days behind me than in front of me. I often ask myself, “Where did the time go?” And with more years comes (hopefully) more insight into life. I can sense within me a very different disposition than in years past.

As a younger man I was always striving for the next goal. I was afraid that satisfaction would lead to complacency – a bad thing. But now I vew satisfaction as a dimension of contentment, which is a good thing. It’s not that I no longer have goals I’d like to achieve, it’s just that I no longer stress out about it. Contentment isn’t something that has to wait until I climb the next mountain. I can be at peace now and still move foward. For some reason I have failed to understand that for most of my life.

This is the message I get from this psalm. His peace and contentment come more from “being” in the presence of God than “doing” something ambitious to prove himself to God, to himself, or to other people. His place in this world is secured, not by his achievement, but by the grace of the Father.

Thank you, Lord, that you hold us at your breast – right now. No further achievement necessary. Amen.

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