Are You Being Spiritually Weaned?
It is no surprise that human beings love to be in a position of control. Most of us do not enjoy the idea of submitting to someone or something else. And if we submit, we like explanations, guarantees and, if they’re not given, then we hold to our opt-out clauses. Someone has said that “we control what we understand, therefore it is no wonder we desire to understand everything.”
Yet the Christian life is a life of faith and sometimes God brings us to a crossroad. We have to make choices. We are forced to face our limitations. We must turn loose of something that we have held on to tightly. And sometimes this occurs with no explanations or guarantees.
This is what it means to be in the season of being spiritually weaned. Simply put, there are some things in life that are over our heads and beyond our grasp as God moves us from the previous means of feeding us and forward unto what He has prepared. Read what David wrote in Psalm 131:1-2:
“LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.”
David humbled himself before God and confessed that he had come to terms with his own limitations. In the midst of his confession we also see that he experienced peace. He took it upon himself to remain calm and carry on. Employing the simile of a baby being weaned from his mother, David knew that it was time to grow and move on from his former place of comfort.
The imagery of a weaned child has captured my attention for several days; here are some things to consider from a baby’s perspective regarding what it might be like to be weaned:
The weaning time for an infant marks a significant change of life for which the infant has no context, experience, or desire. Breastfeeding is all that the baby has ever known; he does not have the ability to understand why this part of life is being removed. Weaning is initially distressing for a child and often accompanied with bouts of crying. From the baby’s perspective weaning is all about loss, not progress. Most babies will not only miss the actual milk but also the intimacy of being held closely by his mother. If the child could articulate what is being experienced there might be questions like, “Is my mother upset?” “Does my mother no longer care?” “Has my mother forgotten me?” None of it makes sense to the young child.
As the weaning process continues, the baby will need to learn to receive nourishment from other sources. Interestingly, in a healthy mother/child relationship, the mother is still caring for the baby and providing all that is needed—in a different way. The baby is now learning a new type of interaction with his or her mother; one that is different from what had previously been experienced.
Weaning is essential in the child’s progress, because he or she needs other sources of nourishment to properly grow. They cannot be healthy if their diet consisted only of breast milk for three years. They need solid foods to balance nourishment and to physically develop. So as the new season of life continues, the baby grows, adjusts, learns, and adapts to different means of having his needs supplied. These young children actually come to the point where they no longer desire to be breastfed and, with time, they even forget those days in their mother’s arms as they nursed. The relationship with their mother changes and grows in new and deeper ways.
David said that his soul had been weaned. He had grown. He was being made to progress. He had left his infancy and was maturing in his spiritual growth. God is also doing that with some of you. Perhaps you don’t sense the immediate closeness as you once did with God. Perhaps His constant reassurance is not sensed as powerfully as in previous days. This can leave you unsettled — “Is my Father upset?” “Does my Father no longer care?” “Has my Father forgotten me?”
As God seeks to develop us, He must move us off of the spiritual breast and carry us forward to more solid nourishment. His care for us does not diminish, but His methods of rearing us must change as His plan for our lives unfolds. He may be silent when we hunger for Him to speak. He will sometimes be still when we feel a deep longing for Him to move. It has been my experience that God trains me to trust what I have already heard from Him, when all I want in those days is the sense of His touch. In His care for us, God weans us. Like the infant’s mother, God is still providing all that we will need but it will now come through different means, lest we never learn to stand, crawl, walk, and run. We cannot nurse forever or we will forever remain little children in the faith.
In closing, I would like to leave you a word of comfort—especially those of you who sense that God is weaning you. One of God’s names in the Old Testament is El Shaddai. In Hebrew the name signifies “the strong-breasted one.” That’s amazing! God Almighty, who is often presented to us as strong and powerful, is also tender, compassionate, and nurturing. He will mature you, empower you, develop you and train you for all of your days. But His affection and care for you will never dissipate. His name cannot change even though His methods of leading you most certainly will. He always has you in His arms of protection and reassurance. Yet you were not created only to rest in the arms of God while nursing. He sends you forth as one of His daughters or sons so that you may make known the glory of your Father.
Perhaps you, like a baby being weaned, are sensing loss in your relationship with Him. Be wise: what is happening with you is more accurately understood as healthy progress. You are not a baby anymore. You are His growing child and He takes pleasure in watching you grow.