September 23, 2021

Calm and Quiet

Psalm 131:1-3

I have calmed and quieted myself.

—  Psalm 131:2

Stress levels keep rising. At work, at school, even at home, the pressure is on. Productivity targets climb. Housing bubbles burst. Viruses run out of control. Who can calm down? Who can relax?

Well, maybe I can take a cue from Psalm 131 and not concern myself with things above my pay grade. Maybe I can imagine myself as a toddler snuggling against my mother’s warmth, the gentle rhythm of her breathing soothing me. Ahhh. Can I just stay here?

When Jesus was a toddler, he and his family were refugees in Egypt. What a lot they had experienced! Visits by smelly shepherds and stargazing foreigners. A close escape from Herod’s hit squad. And then months turning into years while they lived as strangers in a strange land.

Yet we can imagine Mary picking up Jesus and wrapping him in her arms. And we can imagine Jesus finding comfort from her warmth and her steady breathing. Out of place in Egypt, threatened back home—none of that was a concern for little Jesus, who rested quietly in his mother’s embrace.

The psalm and Jesus himself invite us to snuggle against the warmth of God’s presence, to rest in God’s embrace, to trust God when the pressure is on, to trust God like Jesus trusted his mother’s arms.

It can be hard to calm down, Jesus. Too much is too scary and too far beyond me. With hope in God, help me to share a quiet rest with you. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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