Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, September 25

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; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
—Psalm 131: 2

This short (three verses) psalm is unique, not only because it is so brief, but also because many commentators believe that the author might be a woman. Whoever composed it, I love the image: my soul is like a weaned child in its mother’s arms.

My grandson is eleven months old. He is a joyful, chubby, cherubic child, with blond curly hair and enormous gray-blue eyes. He is one of the happiest babies I have ever known, and his laugh is infectious, like a little Buddha’s.

I thought of him when I read this psalm. He loves the world in general, but he loves his mother more than anyone in his world right now. He literally lights up when he sees her. He holds out his fat little arms and she holds him close, and he snuggles into her arms and rests.

That is how the psalmist feels about God—like a weaned child on its mother’s breast. I like the idea that the child is weaned because it means that the child is not seeking something, like nourishment, but rather that the child feels such peace, such trust, that there is the deepest imaginable assurance in the person’s soul. That must be how Julian of Norwich trusted God, she who wrote, “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.” (send an e-card with this message)

I will always think of my grandson when I read this psalm, and I resolve to read it often, and to remember it when I feel anxious and stressed. Surely, this is a picture of the most “mature” faith of all.

Gracious and loving God, help me to release the cares and occupations of my life and to rest in the sure and certain knowledge that all will be well. Give me the trust and the serenity of the child of this psalm. Amen.

The Signposts for September are written by Margaret Jones and originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.