Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Like a Weaned Child
I was reading last night in the Psalms, and the few words comprising number 131 gently stung:
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 quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
I've been worried lately, enough to cause my husband near insanity with frequent verbal queries, such as:
"Will the IRS ever really give us our adoption tax credit?"
"Will Lilia get out of her big girl bed in the night and strangle herself on the window blind cords?"
"What is the mathematical possibility of an EF5 tornado plowing through our town and pulverizing our home?"
And (to go along with the tornado question), "Do we have every important document and precious item securely tucked away into our safety deposit box?"
"What if the EF5 tornado pulverizes the bank wherein is contained our safety deposit box?"
"Will Iran make use of nuclear weapons?"
As you can see, I draw from a deep well of worry. My kind, patient husband tries to gently remind me not to worry, and when my worrisome ways grate him too much he simply says in his almost-mean-if-he-could-have-a-mean-voice way, "You HAVE to stop worrying!"
I don't think I lay too grievous an offense at the feet of my sex if I say that I do believe we, as women, tend to worry more than men. I don't think it's any coincidence that it was Martha whom Jesus gently rebuked for this weakness instead of, say, John or Matthew. Not that men don't worry, because they do. But I think that women tend to worry more, that it is somehow more inextricably linked into our post-fall DNA or something. Or maybe cytosine and guanine have nothing to do with it: Maybe it's just our need for security and safety that so easily causes us to be pushed over the cliff into the gulf of anxiety.
At any rate, I've been worried lately, and then I read Psalm 131 last night.
My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty.
My heart is proud and my eyes are haughty. I think of myself far too frequently. It's like a disease with me or something. Whenever my eyes are on me, I worry. Like Keith Green sung, "Oh, it's so hard to see when my eyes are on me." Yes, Lord, my heart is proud and my eyes are haughty. I confess it.
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
Sure I do. All the time. Most recently it involves the IRS thing and wondering if they will truly ever give us our multi-thousand dollar adoption tax credit. As the eternal pessimist, my inclination is to simply state, "Yeah, sure they will. When pigs fly they'll give us our adoption tax credit." And then I spend the next umpteen minutes agonizing over the impossibility of dealing with the red tape of government (and, incidentally, worrying about the future of our health care system if Uncle Sam can't even deal with a simple adoption tax credit!). You see, the worry never ends with me.
The truth is, I concern myself with things "too wonderful for me" far too often. This doesn't mean it's a bad thing to wonder what causes supernovas or to ponder the intricacies of the human cell: It's good to learn and discover. But the "too wonderful" things are things that I have no control over, things I can't possibly change one way or the other:
Will we get our money back from the IRS? I don't know, but if we don't, surely life will go on and God will use that for His glory and our good.
Will we ever have another child? Very possibly not, but whether we do or don't, we've been blessed with one precious daughter, and God has been good to us.
Where will Jerry get his next job? How long will it take for that to come? I have no way to know this, but God goes before us and paves our way, and He plans our good and not our destruction.
He cares for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, so surely He cares for me, too. Right?
There's a nest in our backyard cottonwood tree with a beautiful, elegant dove. She is nesting. We love to stand beneath the branches where she has laid her nest. We love to stand there and just watch her lovely face and watch her protect her eggs. It's a lovely thing she is doing, just being and just carrying out the plan God laid for her. God has given her all she needs for the task, and that she does.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Yesterday in church we sung an old hymn with these words: "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, how I've proved Him over and over. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust Him more."
I felt that I couldn't honestly sing the words to that song, so I ad-libbed: "Jesus, Jesus, how I (used to) trust Him, how I (used to) prove Him over and over."
And then the last words I didn't have to ad-lib: "Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust Him more."
The thing about a weaned child is this: He or she isn't worried because mommy is nearby and every need is provided. That's what is so beautiful about seeing a newborn baby with his mother. The tenderness, the helplessness, is such a beautiful sight. That is partly why we love to watch the mother dove in our backyard tree. She doesn't do anything really except sit there on her eggs and be a mommy. It's a simple, lovely thing.
We used to wonder when we'd have a child, whether through adoption or pregnancy. I worried about that once, too. And you can read about that story elsewhere, but God gave us a beautiful little girl.
I noticed several months ago that I had this bookmark tucked away in my bedside drawer. I hadn't seen the bookmark for ages, but it tumbled out of my drawer one day when I was searching for something else. There's a lifelike rendering on this bookmark of a very pretty little girl, about two years old. It struck me immediately when I saw it: That looks almost exactly like Lilia! Jerry noticed it, too. Except for darker eyes, it's a picture of our daughter, and she's standing there holding a bouquet of white daisies.
I had that bookmark for years without ever noticing the little girl. I had no way of knowing that our own daughter would very nearly be her spitting image. It's no theological faux pas to say that God knew exactly what Lilia would look like, and that she would be ours.
Underneath the picture of the little girl is this Scripture: ... give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever...
So why do I worry again?