At the beginning of this year, I was to give a brief devotional in an unofficial setting. Considering the tumultuousness of 2023 and the people I was to share with, the following words from the Bible came to my mind: “I have stilled my soul like a little child.” I went looking for the statement and found it in Psalm 131:2. It is one of the shortest Psalms in the Bible, a Psalm of Ascents, in which David first points out his humility in the face of things that are too great for him to fathom. Then he writes, “Yet no, I have soothed and stilled my soul like a weaned child by his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
As I pondered this verse, two things stood out to me.
First is the calmness of a weaned child by his mother. He is comforted in his pain and struggle. Mommy is there. He does not need anything or anyone else. This state is best described by the German word Geborgenheit, which expresses the concepts of concealment, protection, comfort, and security—both physical and emotional.
That is what a child feels when he sits by his mommy; this is what my soul is to feel when I have proper humility and know my smallness in the Grand Scheme of Things.
But what was more important to me was the emphasis that I am the one who soothes and stills my soul. It is my responsibility; not God’s, not that of those around me. The big question is how to do this? I am currently figuring this out. My wife is a lay counselor and has given me a few suggestions; but how do you soothe and still your soul? I’d love to hear about it.
I believe that God gave me this verse for 2024: I am to learn to soothe and still my soul in the face of all the challenges that he chooses to let me experience. What the year will entail I do not know, but I hope it won’t be too crazy. What I do know is that God is with me, and I can trust him to be the same good God he was last year in all the craziness we lived through; and I will wait on Yahweh, as David commands his readers to do in the final verse of the Psalm, both now and forevermore.