It has been said that human beings love to be in a position of control. Most of us do not enjoy the idea of surrendering our course to someone or something else. We like explanations, guarantees and, if those are not available then we absolutely love our opt-out clauses. Someone has said that we control what we understand, therefore it is no wonder that we desire to understand everything. Yet the Christian life is a life of faith and sometimes that faith comes to a crossroads. We have to make choices. We are forced to face our limitations. We must turn loose of something that we have held tightly. And sometimes this occurs with no explanations or guarantees. This is what it means to be in the season of being spiritually weaned. Simply put, there are some things in life that are above our heads and beyond our grasp as God moves us from the former means of feeding us and forward unto what He has prepared. Read to what David wrote in Psalm 131:1-2.
“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. .”
David humbles himself before God to confess that he has come to terms with his own limitations. In the midst of this confession we also see that he is experiencing peace about this. He has taken it upon himself to determine that he will remain calm and carry on. Employing the metaphor of a baby being weaned from its mother’s breast, he knows that it is time to grow and move on from his former place of comfort. The imagery of a weaned child has captured my attention for several days and here are some things to consider from a baby’s perspective regarding what it might be like to be weaned:
The weaning time for an infant marks a significant change for the baby that they have no context for, experience in or desire for. Breastfeeding is all that the baby has ever known and they do not have the capacity to understand why the removal of this part of life is occurring. Weaning is initially distressing for the child and often accompanied with bouts of crying. From the baby’s perspective weaning is all about loss, not progress. Most babies will not only miss the actual milk but miss the intimacy of being held closely and fed by mother. If the child could articulate what is being experienced there might be questions like, “Is mother upset? Does mother no longer care? Has mother forgotten me?” None of it makes sense to the child. As the weaning process continues the baby will need to learn to receive nourishment from other sources. Interestingly, in healthy mother/child relationship the mother is still usually the one caring for the baby and providing all that is needed – it is just that it no longer comes via the breast. That maternal care simply begins to come differently to the baby during the weaning. The baby is now learning a new type of interaction with mother, so different from what had previously been experienced. Weaning is essential in the child’s progress because he needs other sources of nourishment to properly grow. A toddler could not be healthy if her diet has only consisted of breast milk for three years. She needs some solid foods to balance nourishment and to physically develop. So as the new season continues on, the baby grows, adjusts, learns and adapts to new means of having his need supplied. These young children actually come to the point where they no longer desire the process of breastfeeding and soon they no longer even remember those days in mother’s lap as they nursed. The relationship with mother changes and grows in new and deeper ways.
David said that his soul had been weaned. He had grown. He was being made to progress. He had left his infancy and was maturing in his spiritual growth. God is also doing that with some of you. Perhaps you don’t sense the immediate closeness as you once did with God. Perhaps his constant reassurance is not sensed as powerfully as in previous days. This can leave you unsettled – “Is Father upset? Does Father no longer care? Has Father forgotten me?” As God seeks to develop us He must move us off of the spiritual breast and carry us forth to more solid nourishment. His care for us cannot diminish but His methods of rearing us must change as His plan for our lives unfolds. He may be silent when we long for Him to speak. He will sometimes be still when we feel a deep longing for Him to move. It has been my experience that God trains me to trust what I have already heard from Him while all I want in those days is a sense of His touch. In His care for us, friends, God weans us. Like the infant’s mother, God is still providing all that we will need but it will now come through different means, lest we never learn to stand, crawl, walk and run. We cannot nurse forever or we will never become anything beyond little children in the faith.
In closing I would like to leave you a word of comfort if you sense that God is weaning you. One of God’s names in the Old Testament is El Shaddai. In Hebrew the name signifies “the strong, breasted one”. Amazing! God Almighty who is always presented to us with masculine terms in Scripture is also seen in one of His many names as being the tender God who nourishes us as would a mother. He will mature you and empower you and develop you and train you for all of your days. But His affection and care for you will never dissipate. His name cannot change even though His methods of leading you most certainly will. He always has you in His arms of protection and reassurance. Yet you were not created only to rest in the arms of God while nursing. He sends you forth as one of His daughters or sons so that you may make known the fame of your Father. Perhaps you, like the baby being weaned, are sensing loss in your relationship with Him. Be wise, what is happening with you is more accurately understood as healthy progress. You are not a baby anymore. You are His growing child and He takes pleasure in watching you grow.
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