when the baby has enough.

A hungry baby is a terrible thing.

First comes whimpering. Then crying. Then a screaming that consumes the child’s whole body. Long before danger of starvation, the child makes sure that there is no one within earshot that has any question about a need for food. That same child, a bottle or a breast later, is content. No tears, no cries, no struggles, no fears.

That’s the image a writer uses to describe a soul in Psalm 131. Instead of worrying, of crying out about “things too great and marvelous for me”, the writer has

calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

We can go two directions at this point. We could move quickly to talk about those infants who have no food. Those infants who, no matter how loud the crying, will never be satisfied. Adrift in crowds in Somalia, they will die before they have the food they need.

Or we can look at the condition of our souls.

It is easy for me to allow my soul to be consumed with things I cannot understand, that I cannot resolve. International and internal politics. How everything will be tied together, or will fall apart. Being in charge. Things that they have no direct connect to that I watch friends lose sleep over.

Instead, the psalmist suggests,

O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.

Intriguingly, when my soul is content at the side of a loving God, frenetic activity is replaced with thoughtful observation. I quit trying to fix. I quit being God. I can see around me. I notice suffering. And it is possible to climb from the lap and offer hope. Especially to the child crying from physical starvation.

My friend Rich Dixon is still riding the length of the Mississippi on his hand cycle, raising money for Convoy of Hope. He’s ridden 1000 miles so far. It’s one way to help kids.  (Rich and I)

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Categories: prayer, psalms | 4 Comments

About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “when the baby has enough.

  1. Sorry for posting musical responses to your blogs, but I would highly recommend that you find a recording of Jeffrey Van’s choral setting of “Psalm 131.” It is absolutely stunning–one of my favorite pieces of music.

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