By Hal Green
There is much fear and distress out there these days. We face a multitude of problems, from the pandemic to civil unrest to economic survival. It is difficult not to focus on the “what-if” or “could-be” variety of negative “possibility thinking,” which our flesh is heir to. Anxiety has been defined as “living in the gap between the now and then.” So, are you living in such a gap? One wonderful little psalm seeks to resolve all fear. The shortest of all 150 psalms, Psalm 131 consists of a mere three verses:
“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” (Ps 131:1-3 NRSV).
Why occupy yourself with vexing questions, such as, “What will happen to me and my loved ones?” “What is just around the corner?” “For what must I prepare, and will I be able to do so?” These are unanswerable questions, really, and the answers are better left to God. As the Beatles’ song put it, words which I have quoted to persons in mind-numbing crisis, “There will be an answer, let it be.” So can you, with God’s help, “Let go and let God see you through all your tomorrows?” I believe that what God does not protect us from God will perfect us through.
Have you ever held an infant in your arms, your own or someone else’s, and felt the total trust of that baby in your loving care? I have, with our three now-grown children and four grandchildren. Talk about living in the present moment. Holding your baby, looking with love at their precious form, life may not get better than that. What do you want your baby to feel at that moment? Total trust, confidence that you will take good care of that priceless life. Christ makes it abundantly clear that we are to trust in God completely: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:5).
This psalm of David invites you to imagine God holding you as a mother holds a newly weaned child. Trust in God’s loving words, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:1). As you first read, then meditate, pray about and finally wait for God to calm your soul, accept that your ultimate parent is in total charge of your being. Let go of the need to understand mysteries too great for you — or for any of us. Mystery just may be God’s calling card. Trusting in God will calm the child within you.
(Contact Hal Green, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.)