Friday, April 6, 2012

Meditations on Psalm 131

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 marvellous for me.  But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

This chapter in the Bible speaks to a deep longing in my heart.  I find myself longing for peace and tranquility, for a calmed and quieted soul.  My heart's delight is when I find that place and experience the beauty of God's green pastures and still waters (Ps 27).  Despite my best efforts, though, life has a way of pulling me away from that quiet place, where I can hear the beating of my own heart against the whispers of God's Spirit, and into worldly noise, distraction, stress, frustration, etc.  How does one maintain a calmed and quieted soul in the midst of life and all its earthly demands?

Heart not lifted up.  The Message says, God, I'm not trying to rule the roost.  In seeking a place of peace, my worldly self strives for success, for position, for respect, for love.  Yet here, peace and tranquility lie within a heart not striving toward unnecessary greatness.  I sense this tension as I face difficulties and challenges in life and I echo the Psalmists prayer to remind myself, my heart is not lifted up...  

Eyes not raised too high.  I don't want to be king of the mountain (The Message).  The peaceful soul is not trying to attain something beyond its reach.  It is not competitive in nature, needing to be higher than another to achieve some victory or satisfaction.  It is content in knowing who God made it to be and how to move forward, truly offering one's self to bring goodness and blessing upon one's sphere of influence, not for the sake of achieving power, but in spirit and in truth.  Our greatest gain is when we know ourselves in light of who our Maker made us to be and learn to live out of that place of true power, peace, and love.

Things too marvellous for me.  How often have I fantasize[d] grandiose plans (The Message), wanting to "be somebody", to feel important, to value myself?  In the Kingdom of heaven, all things are turned upside down.  If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all (Mark 9:35).  In the kingdom of God, greatness is achieved through true humility, illustrated in v.2 like a weaned child...  Our success comes forth when we commit our way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass (Ps 37:5).

Like a weaned child.  My future, my value, my significance, my very breath... is in His hands.  And my good God cherishes this earthly vessel, and cradles me in His arms, and promises to love and protect me for now and forevermore.  When I put my hope in God, instead of my own self or any other worldly thing, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  

Father, I am not striving for control or aspiring to greatness of self.  I cannot live up to the expectation of worldly success and glory.  I fall short of glory.  And yet, I have calmed and quieted my soul within me, for I know that You, O God, are great!  And you hold me in the palm of your hand.  And I will live with You in glory forever and ever and evermore.  I put my hope in You, O God, my eternal King.