Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Calming Yourself

Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
Like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.
(Psalm 131:2 HCSB)
There is much going on around us. Much turbulence to be caught up in. Much that we do not understand. Many things that tempt us to worry. David the Warrior could certainly identify with us. In fact, he often experienced it much more and to a greater degree than we do. But he came to a place in his life where he learned how to deal with it effectively. A place where he could say,
LORD, my heart is not proud;
My eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
Too great or too difficult for me.
(Psalm 131:1 HCSB)
He realized it was not necessary for him to understand everything that was happening in his life. He did not take it upon himself to fix everything. “Instead,” he said, “I have calmed and quieted myself.” He did not try to calm and quiet the world around him — that was not his to do — but he calmed and quieted himself. Like when he and his ragged band of soldiers came back to camp to find their families and all their possessions had been carried off. David’s men were ready to kill him. He might have simply given up in despair, but instead we read, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV; see How to Encourage Yourself in the LORD).

Now he speaks of calming and quieting himself, to become “like a little weaned child with its mother.” When a child has weaned away from his mother’s breast, he has begun to learn how to trust and have patience. He is not worried that he will be abandoned; he knows that his mother will see that he is properly fed and clothed and provided for. He is secure in the knowledge that his mother is neither far away nor inattentive.

Of course, David is not actually talking about his mother here. He says “like a little weaned child.” In learning to trust his mother in the weaning process, he was also learning what it means to trust in the Lord. Now he was like a like a little weaned child with God. Whatever issues of life were too deep to ponder, whatever circumstances were too difficult to understand, David did not concern himself with them — he left them for God to deal with, fully confident that everything that was needed would be taken care of.

Jesus calls us all to be like that, like a little weaned child. He said,
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. (Mark 10:15)

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
A weaned child does not worry about these things. Likewise, we do not need to anxious either because God has already provided for everything we need. Our part is not to understand everything but to trust God in everything. There are many things in life that are too difficult for us, but they are not too difficult for Him — and He doesn’t even need our advice on how to deal with them.

This is living life in a different, more powerful and effective way. We have a new focus now — God. We seek His kingdom (God’s rule and reign) and His righteousness (God’s way of making things right), and everything else that we need will be added to us. David had many enemies set against him, but he set his focus on God
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
(Psalm 27:4-5)
When Martha was fussing with numerous tasks and complaining that Mary was not doing what she was supposed to (and doing what she was not supposed to), Jesus answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41). Martha was worried and distracted by many things, but Mary was thoroughly focused on one —the Lord Jesus.

“O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, both now and forever” David concludes (Psalm 133:3 HCSB). In the Bible, hope is not a tentative, maybe-so, maybe-not affair. It is a solid expectation, a positive anticipation. This is how we calm and quiet ourselves, how we wean ourselves from the worries of the world and things too deep or difficult for us: We set our expectation on Yahweh. We seek His kingdom, His power, His glory — His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. We focus on His righteousness — His ability to set everything right. And everything else will be taken care of.

This is our new SOP, our “standard operating procedure” from now on.