A Change in Appetite

flat food pyramid

Today in church, a woman read aloud 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;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and for evermore.

New Revised Standard Version

But I like this version just a little better:

Lord, my heart is not proud;
I don’t look down on others.
I don’t do great things,
and I can’t do miracles.
But I am calm and quiet,
like a baby with its mother.
I am at peace, like a baby with its mother.

People of Israel, put your hope in the Lord
now and forever.

New Century Version

As she later mentioned, when we think of a weaned child the first things that come to mind are not calm and quiet. But that’s because we mistakenly associate a constantly crying infant with weaning. But once it is taught that it need not obsess over where it’s next meal is coming, thought not visible, Mommy has not abandoned it, then the child begins to break that exhausting cycle of demanding attention and reassurance. Around this time the bodies of most of the world’s children cease producing the enzyme lactose and even no longer metabolize milk, further encouraging an appetite for solid food.

When I first came to Christ, I was like that infant, alternately clamoring for God’s attention and then His services. I prayed fervently for anything and everything, anxiously worrying that God would find me lacking and withhold from me those things I yearned for; health, security, prosperity, and ministerial accomplishments.

I worried daily what it was that God wanted me to do, belaboring decisions until a clear sign was visible. When things went well then I thanked God for His guidance and His blessing. When they went wrong I apologized for not listening attentively enough, with the understanding that misfortune was God’s way of teaching me. Other Christians who were faring better than I were, for some reason, favored by God.

I prayed that God would use me for great things and threw myself into what I believed was the service of His kingdom; youth group, children’s sermons, leading retreats, Sunday school teaching, organizing church functions and serving on church committees. Although left unsaid, I believed that God would ‘bless’ me with the abilities and time to do all these things and to eventually recognize me as making a ‘difference’ in this world. Like a child towards a parent, I performed to please Him, as well as for the praises of my brothers and sisters.

It may sound off-putting, but having been slowly ‘weaned’ of God I now enjoy an internal quiet and calm that comes from knowing that He loves me as I am, that I need not (nor could I ever) perform well enough to earn His pleasure. I understand that God is not interested in profound eloquence, great accomplishments, mighty battles won or crusades fought well. He does not require great sacrifices or offerings and flamboyant achievements and spectacular miracles are not the daily fare of a disciple. As I stopped working so hard at being a good Christian I began to rest in His grace.

I still thirst for God but He calls me with whispers, not exhortations. Though I may not always be aware of His presence, I trust that He has not left me. It is that same trust that allowed me to venture outside of the sanctuary of the modern church and see what God has been up to with the rest of His children. Occasionally even sharing a meal or two with them.

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  1. #1 by Christian on May 21, 2008 - 11:54 am

    What makes your level of faith ‘low’? Compared to whom; Jesus? St. Francis?

    I think we WANT to ‘have Faith’ so very bad and yet have not got a clue of what real Faith actually IS

    Amen to that. But I think we do have a ‘clue’ – from examples such as Christ’s and the occasional glimpse of our own. Unfortunately so many so fervently believe that they ‘know’ what this faith is and what it looks like that they tend to elevate their own status in God’s eyes while demeaning those who so ‘obviously’ lack this same level of faith. But why should we think that authentic faith would look the same among any two people, much less all who believe?

  2. #2 by netprophet on May 21, 2008 - 2:11 pm

    Love and Chris,
    Good Points. Have you considered the faith that it took for us to believe in Christ in the first place? It is by Faith we are saved, so if you believe you are saved, then you have faith. Blessed be he who believes but does not see!

    The issue; is it as much faith as others? I say that only God can judge that. But for me I believe my faith is sufficient to allow the Holy Spirit to work through me and to also cause it to increase to the level my will and my surrender allow. And also, to the level required by the Spirit to carry out His desires for my use. Just making yourself available is the biggest step. Would you agree?

  3. #3 by logiopath on May 21, 2008 - 9:47 pm

    Oki-Doki. Outside of the NT record, and the accounts of Elijah/Elisha, few true miracles are recorded (let alone recorded by reliable sources).

    Are Christians supposed to perform miracles? We could debate for years whether or not Acts miracles on demand are for a certain time period.
    On the other hand, we could have a wonderful debate on the authenticity of the accounts of Acts (or the gospels, for that matter) and whether or not the miracles took place.

    On the other hand 2, we could also say that miracles are the drawing card, or that miracles have meanings on other levels–or that miracles are nothing: Developing Sub-Saharan Africa and other former European colonies to enjoy the wealth and medical advancements we Westerners possess would be the true miracle, and the true mission of the church in this day and age.

  4. #4 by logiopath on May 21, 2008 - 10:52 pm

    Barkley is among conservatives who reject miracles. I believe it is Barkley who gives the explanation of the feeding the multitude as being a young boy set an example by sharing his lunch, so 5,000 skinflints gave in and shared their’s too. Hmm. Almost sounds anti-semetic.

    On the other hand, liberal scholars Jeremias and C. H. Dodd probably believe in the miracles.

  5. #5 by logiopath on May 21, 2008 - 10:53 pm

    If we could eliminate our ego, then we probably wouldn’t care about needing miracles.

  6. #6 by Alecia Berman-Dry on May 22, 2008 - 4:02 pm

    Chris–You know, in the Buddhist tradition, the path one traverses begins with faith, but ends in knowlege. In fact, those teachings encourage one to take nothing the Buddha or anyone else says on faith, but rather to evaluate each and every teaching for yourself. It seems to me like you do a good job of NOT relying on faith, but instead question what does not sit right with you. Although you may have faith, Christian, your thoughts on this blog make it seems like you are moving towards knowledge. But then, maybe that’s my own personal linguistic and conceptual understanding of faith. BTW, we’ll chat about Lulu on Sunday….

  7. #7 by lovewillbringustogether on May 24, 2008 - 1:23 am

    Chris Amen! and i was just using a figure of speech when i said we don’t have a clue – we have STRONG clues – but we all tend to view them still from only a narrow personal perspective – which may or, seemingly more often, may not actually help us find God better.

    Net-prophet – agree 🙂

    logio – concerning your last comment i would agree there – but Christ did not perform miracles for HIS own benefit, but for those who needed them and who’s Faith aided them – and always to the Greater Glory of His Father in the eyes of those who witnessed them!

    I think we could all stand to do things a little more Christ’s way – don’t you?

    Miracles for selfish purposes i don’t believe are all that common anywhere.

    <B

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