Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Like a Weaned Child

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

When my children were young, long before I was a biblical counselor, I was a breastfeeding counselor. I worked with an internationally known group of volunteers who offered help and encouragement, mostly to new moms who were struggling with nursing their newborns.

As their babies grew, there came a time of natural weaning. Many babies just seemed to gradually lose interest in nursing as more solid foods were introduced. For these moms, weaning was easy. But some of the moms had babies—toddlers and even some preschoolers, who just did not want to stop nursing. They would fuss and scream, demanding to be held and nursed. Their moms, desperate for peace, gave in, and when this had gone on as long as they could stand it, they called us for help.

Fast forward to today. The Lord brought me to Psalm 131, where David compares himself to a weaned child with his mother. Because of my background, my initial thought when I think of weaning is whining, crying, and discontentment. But this is not the picture that David describes. He says he has calmed and quieted his soul, like a weaned child with his mother.

Weaning is a process. Just like a mother refusing her child because she knows what’s best for him, my Father sometimes denies me what I think I need, and I become discontented. I may complain, cry, and whine about my desire to Him. David cried and complained to God, too. There are many Psalms of complaint in the Bible (e.g. 142:1-2; 74, 88 ) written by David and others, which are exactly that— cries to God for what the psalmist thinks he needs. But, throughout these Psalms, and the whole Bible really, the writers always end up confessing that God is both loving and good, and most of the time, if the end is revealed to them, they see that what He ordained was best, for their good and God’s glory.

Friend, you and I are currently in the weaning process. We scream and cry for what we want and think we need, but perhaps our heavenly Parent knows that we need something else. The weaning itself is part of the growth process. As we learn to deny ourselves the things that He seems to deny us, we will become less whiney and discontented. There is no one more self-focused than a child who refuses to wean from the breast, and there is no greater picture of a trusting relationship than a weaned child with his mother. He has learned that, in spite of what he thought he needed, his mother knew better, and she lovingly but firmly denied him. Because she has consistently and faithfully fed him for his entire life, he trusts her and eventually quiets himself.

So my question for you today is this: Who has loved, fed, and nurtured your soul? Can He still be depended on to continue doing that, even if you don’t get the things you want in this life? What if He decides that the best thing for you is not less pain, but more? What if a more severe disability will draw you closer to him than improvement in your functionality? What if progression of your disease will bring Him more glory than a miraculous healing? Will you still trust Him? Will you still believe that He loves you? Or will you be like the angry toddler who refuses to wean, throwing fits and grieving his parents?  

My dear friend, like a weaned child with his mother, will you calm and quiet your soul in the arms of your Abba?  Will you trust Him and only Him to provide what is best for you today?