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
Most of us who have been parents read this verse and remember battles with our children as we tried to get them off the bottle and onto baby food. But when I was in Bible College (which feels like a thousand years ago) one professor who was a Palestinian gave us a different perspective. He explained that in the Middle East, when a mother felt that it was time for their child to start on solid food they would smear something bitter on their breast just as meal time rolled around. Once Junior got a taste of that they would pull back in surprise and cry. Then the mom would offer something to eat.
But of course babies who are used to breast feeding don’t want anything except for sweet milk. According to our professor that process sometimes went on for more than a day until finally the child in exhaustion just rested on his mother and began to accept a tiny bit of rice or banana. What seemed like punishment to the child was actually for their good. It is not that the milk was bad but that the solid food was better. Now looking back I can see how God has worked with me. Friends left behind, the death of my parents and the struggles of growing older have sometimes left me bitterly complaining and wishing for the good old days. But the good news is that God not only takes away, He also gives. In exchange for the sweet milk we lose, He gives us a deeper trust in His care and a confidence in the great embrace of God as we rest on His everlasting arms!