Phil Cox

Miscellaneous


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

Home page
Recent Columns
Previous Series
Phil's background
Preaching engagements
Creation and science
Miscellaneous
Contact Phil

Links
Stubbington Baptist Church
Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith

Like a weaned child

12th January 2013

Psalm 131
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quietened my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and for evermore.

I sometimes hear non-Christians ask really foolish questions about God. They're typically variations on the theme "Why isn't God more like me?" or "If there is a God, why doesn't He do what I would do if I was God?" People who ask these questions create an image of God as a slightly better version of themselves, and then criticize Him because He doesn't behave like this image. But God is not much like us at all (if He was like me, I certainly wouldn't worship Him).

But Christians can fall into the same trap. We can find ourselves asking: "Why doesn't God heal that person?" "Why doesn't God save that person?" "Why doesn't God intervene and fix that situation?" These questions all mean "Why doesn't God do what I would do if I was God?"

More personally, we ask "Why doesn't God heal me?" "Why doesn't God save my children, or my wife or husband?" "Why doesn't God intervene and fix my situation?" "Why doesn't God do what I think I need Him to do?"

These can be proud and haughty questions. Who are we to demand answers from God? And who are we to think we can understand God? He seldom answers these questions, and we may not be able to understand His answers anyway; God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55v8-9). Our souls can cry out in bewilderment because of the actions - and sometimes the inaction - of God. We can shake our fists at God because our lives are difficult and our dreams are unfulfilled.

David - like us - knew sorrow and failure. But (at least while he was writing this Psalm) he chose to accept that he won't understand everything, and that sometimes God will not act in the way that he would like. He chose instead to let God be God, and to accept what he didn't want and what he couldn't understand. He said I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

Instead of agonising, or arguing with God, about what he couldn't understand, David said I have stilled and quietened my soul.

We can only know true spiritual intimacy with God when our souls are quiet and still. But many Christians are seldom quiet in our prayer lives, and seldom still in our thoughts.

When we're angry or frustrated with God, we can't be quiet and still in our souls. And we've forgotten why we're Christians. Surely, we're Christians because we've come to realize that God knows best, that God is all-powerful, and that God loves us. And that we don't deserve His love. It's not for us to call God to account, it's God that will call us to account.

But if we will still and quieten our souls, we can become like a weaned child with its mother. A weaned child no longer comes to his mother's breast just for what he can get - for milk. Instead, he comes just to be with his mother, just for the intimacy and love.

This requires a conscious decision. We must stop working, and turn off the TV, and put down the newspaper. And we must stop fighting God, accept that He's wiser than we are, and chose to continue to trust Him. Then we can come to Him and just enjoy Him. And there's nothing better than delighting ourselves in Him.

Please, dear brother or sister in Christ, don't waste your life, your energy, and your spiritual and emotional well-being, by arguing with God or resenting what He has or hasn't done. Instead, trust your Saviour that He knows what He's doing: O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and for evermore.