Saturday, February 9, 2013

Like a Weaned Child

"But I have calmed and quieted myself, 
I am like a weaned child with its mother, 
like a weaned child I am content." 

 ~Psalm 131:2

My kids and I are reading through the Psalms currently, and this one hit home in several ways.  I am not always so patient and calm as I wait for God to meet my needs. Things seem so urgent from my point of view! But I try to keep going back to that knowing that he doesn't abandon us, knowing he sees, knowing he cares, knowing we are in his hands.

How did the Psalmist calm himself?  He wasn't proud.  His heart wasn't fixed on matters that were beyond his sphere--his hope was in the Lord.  A hope as solid as a child's.  He was content.

Spurgeon* points out in his commentary,
"It is no easy thing to quiet yourself; sooner may a man calm the sea, or rule the wind, or tame a tiger, than quiet himself."
Ah...but we have the One who calms the sea and wind, the One who even created the animals, within us.
"We are clamorous, uneasy, petulant; and nothing but grace can make us quiet under afflictions, irritations, and disappointments."  
Nothing but grace.  Grace which lures us daily, moment by moment, to rest in the one who will surely provide for us, surely care for us--the one who absolutely loves us more than we can imagine.

The weaning process is difficult, is painful.  We are weaned from self-reliance, from the world's enticements, from pride, from our desire for control...and we are taught to turn and trust in our true Provider, to rest in his Providence.

Spurgeon goes on to say that the child is not weaned from his mother, but on her:

"My soul doth like a weanling rest,
I cease to weep;
So mother's lap, though dried her breast,
Can lull to sleep."

*Quotes of Charles H. Spurgeon are from The Treasury of David: Classic Reflections on the Wisdom of the Psalms.

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Year's Resolution - er - Word: Delighting in God

Anyone still thinking about New Year's Resolutions, or have they been quietly swept under the rug?  I don't often make resolutions, though sometimes I do some soul-searching and might set a goal for myself.  Sometimes I do better with a short-term goal than one for the whole year!

Last year I was introduced to a slightly different concept, though, of choosing a word for the year.  I did something similar several years ago, when I decided to pray through I Corinthians 13:4-7 for the year, focusing on how to love my family and others.  That was transformational to my relationships.

The word that kept returning to me this winter was:  Delight.

Do we really take time to delight in God?  

We might serve him, strive to obey him, worship him, read his word, seek him, follow him...but do we delight?  Scripture is FULL of references to delighting in God and rejoicing in him, so if this is not often a focus...why not?

Maybe we don't stop to dwell, meditate, revel in the amazing mystery that God delights in us.  Hebrews 12:2 says Christ died for the joy set before him.  Zephaniah 3:17 says he takes great delight in us, that he rejoices over us with singing.

When you hear "For God so loved the world..." do you hear delight?  Do you think of yourself as the apple of his eye?  (Psalm 17:8)  Is the cross a source of increasing joy for you, or has it become bland, boring, leaving you with wondering what else there is to know about God?

I am finding, the cross is all.  The cross is the deepest well that we can't even begin to comprehend, but oh, the joy he intends for us there.

At times in my life, I didn't understand the cross or sense delight there.  It seemed like a place of personal humiliation where God rubbed my face in my failures, instead of a place where I could be fed, healed, loved, and rejoiced over.  It was the place where I saw deep and never-ending disappointment in Jesus’ eyes, instead of a place where he looked at me with delight, a place where I could grow in an intimate relationship with him.

He paid it all, and his grace will heal all.

Instead of continuing to joyfully meet him at the cross where we are cherished, I was pridefully trying to live without him--to live without sinning, not because it glorifies God, not out of thankfulness, but out of an attempt to avoid personal failure.  I wanted to grow out of my need for forgiveness--in a sense, to outgrow my need for Christ.  How foolish that sounds when put into words! I would never have really thought that was what I was doing.

To be in need every day, every hour…that’s painful to pride. Unless...

Unless the cross is transformed for us.  Unless we see the delight in his eyes.  Unless it becomes for us that place where we are indeed fed, healed, loved, cherished, rejoiced over.

So this year, my word is Delight.  Delighting in God.  Delighting in him delighting in me.  Delighting in his people--another topic for another day!

Come, he beckons us to walk with him in the cool of the day.