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Encourage: A psalm when we feel clueless

I want to make a confession to all Oklahoma Baptists: I feel as clueless as a small child.

This year has made my head spin. As we enter the second half of 2020, I am more confused, not less. We are trying to make decisions about starting schools, playing sports, holding events, balancing budgets; in general, about how to finish the year. Yet, so often we are confronted by a simple reality: We just don’t know. Psalm 131 comes to my mind:

“O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.”

This is a psalm of David—David the shepherd, David the warrior, David the builder, David the king. David was not one for inaction; he did not tend to shrink from taking the reins, being responsible, and coming up with a plan to execute. David was a man of vision, of action, a true leader. Yet, David seems to have learned that the real challenges of life tended to tower high above his capacity.

This little psalm anticipates the teaching of Jesus. He took a little child and put him on His knee for the whole crowd to see. Then Jesus said, “Whoever humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4).

I find two sacred patterns in David’s short prayer in the psalm. The pattern of the self-reliant moves from pride to presumption to pressure. “I am the grown up in the room, the leader. I must fix all that needs fixin’! I must have a wise remark for every occasion and a solution to every problem.” We undervalue people, and we overreach our capacity because we overestimate our ability to manage every circumstance.

That may have been David’s pattern as a young man, but he has taught his soul a new rhythm. The pattern of peace—humility, honesty and hope in the LORD. “I am not all that clever, I am not so very strong. I am a man like other men; and my only hope is in the LORD.”

O LORD, give us grace to compose and quiet our souls; and to rest, humble and quiet, in Your strong and faithful arms.

Hance Dilbeck

Author: Hance Dilbeck

Hance Dilbeck is executive director-treasurer with Oklahoma Baptists

View more articles by Hance Dilbeck.

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