I Just Want to Understand

detail of woman praying in a pew at a church with joined hands

Psalm 131

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;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.

I remember, many years ago, I was sharing with a friend about an issue I was struggling with causing me great anxiety.  When she said, “I think this is a pride issue,” I was shocked, taken aback, and befuddled… but not offended. I thought about that for some time and I realized that she was right.

It is natural for us to want to understand things that affect us.  Often times when we have been hurt deeply we want to understand why this has happened to us. We want an inside look at God’s purpose. We want an explanation, knowing full well God doesn’t owe us one but longing for one anyway.

Sometimes we can get stuck right there.  Unable or unwilling to let go or move on because the answers we want are not forthcoming.  We come to believe that somehow the answers in and of themselves would resolve the hurt, pain and suffering.

This Psalm offers the answer although perhaps not the one we are looking for.  The Psalmist first assumes a posture of humility – O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;  my eyes are not raised too high. A heart lifted up and eyes raised are both a picture of pride, haughtiness, arrogance.  My friend’s words immediately came back to me.

I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. In other words, the Psalmist does not spend time trying to understand that which is not his to know.  Some things are beyond our ability to comprehend. On one hand there is much in the universe that is too marvelous, too wonderful for our finite minds to grasp – like the magnitude of the physical universe or the infinitude of God.  On the other hand there are things too great, too big, too heavy, too complex for us to bear such as the death of a loved one or the evil against children.  God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to shield us from these things.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. The Psalmist portrays a picture of complete contentment and rest even though he doesn’t have all the answers and he still does not understand.

How do we move on even if we never understand or get the answers we want?

O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. We can move forward in faith, trusting in the LORD for we know full well there is nothing beyond His knowledge or understanding.  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33

Our hope is in the LORD. From a posture of humility, we can calm and quiet our souls like a weaned child because we can rest in Him and trust Him with the answers and understanding we lack.

I’m glad there are answers even if I don’t know them.  I know the One who does and He is trustworthy, loving, kind, powerful, sovereign and good.

Blessings,

Diane

Diane Hunt serves part time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

 

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