Be Still, My Soul!
I have calmed and quieted myself. Psalm 131:2
Picture a parent poised lovingly over a child, finger gently placed in front of nose and lips softly speaking the words—“hush,” “shhhh.” The demeanor and simple words are meant to comfort and quiet anxious little ones in the midst of disappointment, discomfort, or pain. Scenes like this are universal and timeless and most of us have been on the giving or receiving end of such loving expressions. When I ponder Psalm 131:2, this is the picture that comes to mind.
The language and flow of this psalm suggest that the writer, David, had experienced something that provoked serious reflection. Have you experienced a disappointment, defeat, or failure that prompted thoughtful, reflective prayer? What do you do when you are humbled by life’s circumstances? When you fail a test or lose a job or experience the end of a relationship? David poured out his heart to the Lord and in the process did a bit of honest soul-searching and inventory (Psalm 131:1). In making peace with his circumstances, he found contentment like that of a young child who was satisfied with simply being with his or her mother (v. 2).
Life’s circumstances change and sometimes we are humbled. Yet we can be hopeful and content knowing that there is One who has promised to never leave or forsake us. We can trust Him fully.
Father, when things change in my life, help me not to be anxious but to trust You and find contentment in You alone.
Read more: Cultivating a Heart of Contentment at discoveryseries.org/hp052.
The theme of Psalm 131 is rest or spiritual contentment. Verse 2 says, “I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” This idea of rest connects to the preceding song (Psalm 130) whose theme is forgiveness. Psalm 130:4 affirms, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” It is forgiveness that gives us true, lasting rest because it brings us into relationship with the God who made us.
This was voiced beautifully by the church father Augustine who said, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”