Psalm 131 is an interesting Psalm. It”s short; it’s only three verses long. I first noticed Psalm 131 when I was grieving the death of a grandparent. Death is something that’s out of my control, and Psalm 131 captured my emotions, thoughts, and feelings at the time. Since the current health crisis began, I’ve found that I’ve been annoyed by Psalm 131 instead ofcomforted.
During the shelter in place, I’ve passively watched my world turn upside down. Plans that where made months ago were all derailed in a matter of weeks. What started with my graduate classes moving to online for four weeks snowballed to schools closing, graduations being canceled, and trips in the month of May being postponed or canceled altogether. Psalm 131 was not comforting by the end of March. Psalm 131 was annoying at best, and completely aggravating most of the time.
Psalm 131 begins with the verses, “My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with matters too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.” In a moment when I felt completely out of control, and I was grieving the loss of a final semester of school, these two verses were not helpful. I viewed these verses as taking away my claim to upset, disappointed, and many other emotions, but content was not what I was feeling. Instead, these verses were making me feel guilty for the emotions that I felt any time I read a news article, watched the news, or logged onto social media. A psalm that I originally found to be comforting and reassuring was no more. I was completely fed up with current events, lack of control, and Psalm 131.
However, if I get past the first two verses, there’s this one more verse: “Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever more.” This verse hasn’t been easy to read either, but it’s a much-needed reminder. This verse reminded me that my hope and joy aren’t in the ability to go out with friends when I want to, go to school when I scheduled my classes, or even put my hope in a degree that I have spend a lot of time, hard work, and resources into. My hope shouldn’t be in leaders of my world. My hope needs to be in God.
With the reminder to put my hope in God, I am reminded that God knows what’s going on. God’s aware of my disappointment of the last two months. God knows that I’ve felt scared because of the lack of control. God knows the moments that I felt annoyed at the situation in the last two months. God knows, and I’m reminded of the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus. The chorus has the following lyrics:
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer
This is an accurate description of my world the last two months. I’ve forfeited peace. I’ve held on, bitterly, to pain that wasn’t necessary. And with this realization I, once again, understand the comfort of Psalm 131, “Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever more”.
Audrey has been a counseling intern at Beacon of Hope for the last eight months. She enjoys working with all of her clients, a sweet spot seems to be working specifically with teens and young adults. In her free time she enjoys baking, brewing chai tea, and going for long walks.