This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” . . .Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:15,18)
But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. (Ps.131:2)
Rest, calm, quiet.
Those who have been craving a little more of these descriptors in their daily lives may or may not be getting their wish. Depending on their work and/or having children at home 24/7, a rest from one thing is not necessarily a rest in what takes its place.
I am not by nature good at waiting. While I laugh at the antics of the little red squirrel that frequents our backyard — his zigzags and jumps that look like firecrackers are going off under his tail — I recognize that we have a lot in common. Even when I am still, my thoughts often zing from place to place like a pinball machine on steroids. I can cover a wide range of seemingly unrelated territory in seconds. It’s taken me years and constant re-focusing on God to learn to do better at waiting for Him.
David’s picture of a weaned child is instructive for me. Once a child no longer relies on its mother’s breast for food, she can sit on her lap and simply enjoy the peace and comfort of being with her. The lap of a loving parent is the place where a child feels most cherished and secure. It’s the place of complete contentment.
In the face of a threat, children instinctively run to a parent and trust in their protection. We adults have been taught to be self-sufficient; to find our own solutions. We can fight or we can flee, but the one thing many of us can’t seem to do is to be still before God as our first response.
A second difficulty can lie in taking an honest look at what we may have contributed to our current situation that requires us to repent. If I’m not willing to be turned around from wrong attitudes, thoughts or actions, then God isn’t going to do it for me. If I really want to change and will freely admit my fault, I can rest in the assurance that I am forgiven and will be helped as I depend on my Father. Whatever else happens — and there are always consequences from wrong — my relationship with my Father has been strengthened, and so have I.
Sometimes the only thing I know I need to repent of is my delay in coming to Him. At others, I recognize right away that God is my only possible help. But even then, I can often repent of not spending enough quality time just being still in HIs presence.
In quietness and trust is my strength? It’s hard to convince my overactive nerve endings to be quiet at the best of times. The acid test for whether I’ve really turned something over to God is that a calmness comes over me that isn’t natural — or even attainable — but supernatural. I crave that level of quietness, and my greatest contentment is when I’m there.
The peace of genuine dependence on my Father is like being freed from a heavy load, but far more than that. It’s knowing I have Someone who is utterly dependable, absolutely wise, and all loving, who wants to hold my hand and guide me in every step I take. Even though I so often let go and run off a few steps on my own, He’s always watching, always waiting, always reaching for me when I run back.
My strength is in knowing how weak I really am. It’s then that I stick closest and lean hardest on my Father. It’s then I can be content while I wait for His timing, His answer, His blessing.
Father, please help me to be acutely aware of my need for You, and refresh that truth every day. I long for that contentment that comes from just resting in Your arms; I realize that it’s up to me to move, and keep moving, to that place with You. Help me to develop the discipline of dependence in all situations, I pray. Amen.