The quiet before the storm is ushered in when the forecast is finally settled. When my home was once again in a tropical storm’s predicted path in September 2021, life got upended. Decisions were suspended, and I waited. A heavy hush fell in the waiting room where I had gathered my supplies. Will this unwelcome guest rake havoc on my area? Will he overstay his welcome? Will my little portion of the piney woods see long-term damage? Questions roll in waves: uncertainty ebbs and flows.
Psalm 131 was written to be read aloud by those who were making their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This arduous trek would have involved steep inclines and desert wanderings. God’s people needed encouragement to keep going and to prepare themselves for an encounter with God in the Temple.
1 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. Psalm 131:1 ESV
I am a planner. I love to make plans and predict what will happen next. My heart and eyes focus on the next thing, the next challenge, and the next worry. When I do this, is it because my eyes are straining beyond what God has for me now? Am I missing the quiet before the storm because the noise in my head is drowning out God’s presence? I know it is easy for me to catastrophize about what I think I see ahead. I try to figure out my disaster plan and response before anything goes wrong. Instead, the psalmist chooses not to occupy himself with things too marvelous for him. Where I focus my mind and heart are my own choices.
What if, now that I have gathered my storm supplies, I take some time to sit with the Lord and see what He has for me in this time of waiting? What if I set a timer and sat quietly before him and listened? (For me setting a timer creates a gentle boundary to keep my focus on the Lord.)
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2 ESV
Be Still and Snuggle
My youngest grandchild, Ian, is a snuggler. He loves to be rocked to sleep and held. While his older sister is quick to wriggle out of my arms, he is content to settle in. Nothing is more calming on earth than a child sleeping peacefully on your chest.
Can my soul snuggle up with God this day and rest peacefully, knowing God has a plan? Can I push pause on the doing, going, getting, and achieving for even fifteen minutes? Can I choose to quiet my soul in this waiting time? The psalmist is creating a peace-filled liturgy for himself. He is singing a lullaby over his soul.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131:3 ESV
In the final verse of Psalm 131, the psalmist gives me a glimpse of the future. Hope in the Lord is available for me now and forever. However, in the quiet before the storm, will I be found in my father’s arms at peace in that hope or pacing around as if it all depends on my efforts?
Lord, please help me quiet my soul and come more completely into your presence. Could you help me to release my concerns and plans and rest in your arms? Thank You for always being available and never being too busy for your daughter. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
How do you quiet your soul?