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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Sunday, May 10

I still my soul and make it quiet,
Like a child upon its mother’s breast.
—Psalm 131:3

I was watching my sister-in-law rock her daughter, age 4. Paige had fallen and hurt herself while playing outside. She had skinned her knee, and come running into the kitchen, more for comfort than for first aid.

Once in her mother’s lap in the rocker, Paige began to relax. Her little body softened and the whimpering subsided. The “mom-language” took over: “There, there. It’s okay. It’s okay. Let’s sing a little song.”

The psalmist imagines that we have this kind of possibility within our relationship with God. Just as Paige knows her mother in many different ways, so we know God in many different aspects.

We may primarily know God as Judge or as Friend, as Light or as Ruler. This line from Psalm 131 suggests that God is also as gently maternal as we can ask or imagine, that there is a maternity in God that we may trust and desire. The psalmist invites us to know that we may rest in God, stilling our souls, letting go, like a child trusting a mother’s arms, knowing a mother’s body.

Just as I will always be my mother’s child,  so we will always remain children of God, though we may be old and gray-headed. And just as I still yearn, from time to time, to know my mother’s presence when I'm distressed, so we can yearn to know God’s maternal love for us as well as God’s fatherly care.

May your maternal presence sustain me this day, O God.

The Signposts for May originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.