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.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time on and forevermore.
The psalms are a rich trove of thoughts and feelings, words which we cling to on our journey through life with the Living God. This little ditty shouts that less is indeed more. I first encountered it during a painful season of my life when I was grieving the loss of love and my grandmother’s death. I read it so much that I memorized it, because somehow it brought me to a deep calm and rest even though life’s questions remained. One day it came alive in a new way when I was at Loree’s, the coffee shop on Foster avenue where Starbucks is nowadays. Over coffee and my toasted pecan roll in some kind of anxious time I saw a family enter, the father cradling a a toddler who was fast asleep, with arms stretched out in the air. Not a worry or care about falling or being dropped. Just fast asleep and at peace in his dad’s embrace: “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is within me.”
This psalm, it seems, is made for a moment like we are having together, this kind of “once in a lifetime” time. There’s so many questions we ask bu can’t answer, and so much about what’s going on that we can’t begin to understand. A pandemic. How easy it is to “occupy myself with things that are to great and too marvelous for me.” The invitation I can’t refuse is to let go, to let go for just a while, and rest, be at peace, trust in the One who holds me. The invitation is to “hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore.”
That’s the elixir! To trust in, to hope in the God of all life, and that God understands what I cannot, and is at work in the world in ways I can’t fully see or understand. And ultimately, to offer life’s enduring questions and concerns to this faithful, loving God, to entrust the mysteries of life to God, and let go, and find rest in God’s promise to hold onto me.
Questions remain. Problems, pains, and sorrows persist. Those haunting “why” questions linger. If we can give them to God for a bit, and rest, they’ll still be there when our slumber is over.
So try it with me. Let’s work on it together. Work on letting go. Stop occupying your mind and heart weigh you down with the things you can’t understand or explain. Trust them to God’s keeping for awhile. Take a walk in the sunshine (it’s coming in the next couple of days!) Watch everything coming to life around you in God’s creation. pen a poem, or bake some of your favorite cookies. Find sabbath rest. Trust in the LORD who has a firm hold on you, now and forevermore.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.