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Baby Peace

Updated: May 6, 2022

(Grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. This is a long one.)

When I first read this verse, I thought it referred to a nursing baby, sweetly serene and sated, nuzzling mama's bosom. Baby peace is deep. This picture perfectly captures those priceless times with my own boys. I think we even had the same onesie. Nursing was the ultimate pacifier. It not only fully satisfied my boys’ relentless hunger, but it was also often the remedy for anything that ailed them--from sleeplessness to bellyaches. This image of faith is comforting to me. Easy. But David’s referring to a weaned infant--one who is eating solid food. I admit I was a bit bummed by the fact because I can be a big baby sometimes and want so much to be lulled.

The comforts of infancy.

I nursed both my boys for a good while; Pierce for 12 and Isaac for 18 months. Isaac was in the NICU for a week when he was born, so they gave him formula in addition to my pumped breast milk. Pierce was my firstborn, and I was a total purist. I nursed exclusively. He would wail, panic-stricken when he was hungry, and he was always hungry. Nursing was exhausting, demanding, relentless, especially with Pierce. I remember calling the saintly nursing doula in maternal hysterics at all hours and her comforting me off the ledge of post-partum despair.

Once I got the hang of it, though, I treasured that very special time with both my boys. I'd spend hours in the glider, nursing, cuddling, then nursing again. When they were sleepless, anxious, sick, or otherwise troubled, nursing fixed it. Nursing was a blessing to both of us.

Time to grow up. At least a little.

Weaning was hard, especially for Pierce who'd only known mother's milk and the ease and comfort of my warm nook for a long time. It was hard on me, too. Though demanding, nursing was the convenient solution for a lot of problems--real and imagined. It was also mandatory downtime from my constant busy-busy multitasking.

But my babies eventually needed solid food, even while they relied on me to provide it. After that, we enjoyed cuddles without the neediness or urgency of nursing. In Psalm 131, David is speaking to this serene, yet still child-like dependence, without the desperate demands of a hangry, helpless baby. God wants that for us.

Real and pseudo-security.

Dear brothers, I have been talking to you as though you were still just babies in the Christian life who are not following the Lord but your own desires; I cannot talk to you as I would to healthy Christians who are filled with the Spirit. I have had to feed you with milk and not with solid food because you couldn’t digest anything stronger. And even now you still have to be fed on milk. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (TLB)

How I love these plain-talking Bible translations that capture both the substance and the spirit of God’s word to us! I can almost hear an exasperated Paul addressing those wacky Corinthian folks, who were a hot mess.

According to Crossway’s English Standard Version Bible commentary, the Corinthian believers were “plagued with serious problems of division, sexual immorality, and social snobbery” (p. 2187). Boy, you could have written that yesterday, eh? They also suffered from “considerable theological confusion about marriage, divorce, participation in pagan religions, order within corporate worship, and the bodily resurrection of Christ” (p. 2188).

Two thousand years of “evolution” hasn’t changed us much. We still eschew the solid food of God’s truth.

Corinthian ruins.

There, maybe lewdly lounging on the Corinthian beach, those wacky believers read Paul’s earful. Oh, to be a fly on that umbrella! Their conduct and confusion were both unhealthy and juvenile, as I can sometimes be. As the entire planet seems to be more and more these days.

“Grow up!” I can almost hear Paul say.

The perils of being puerile.

Paul’s drive to mature the Corinthians isn’t a minor matter. The Corinthian’s crappy conduct was not only harming them and others, it was also undermining the gospel mission and compromising the very existence of the church. There are even graver consequences for those who blow God off altogether.

No doubt, there’s real danger in buying comfortable half-truths or knowingly redefining truth to suit ourselves. Believers or otherwise.

Sometimes, our sense of spiritual and physical safety is woefully misplaced and frightfully immature. Baby faith can cause serious problems to us, to the body of Christ, and not to exaggerate even a teeny bit, the whole wide world.

Still, there’s immense comfort in this verse and the many others that invite child-like--but not totally baby-like--faith. Mature faith, as described in the subject Psalm, or many other verses throughout the Bible, still has an endearingly childlike quality.

"Jesus and the Little Children," Vogel Von Vogelstein, 1805. (NOTE: I love this painting. The adoring, relaxed intimacy of the children and Jesus' gentle and loving countenance. I'm a bit put off by Jesus' arms raised in protective blessing (?), which feels slightly aloof. I will meditate on it a bit. Hope you will, too.

A delicate balance.

This weaned child faith David and Paul describe involves a delicate balance between restful, trusting dependence and enough maturity to both absorb and apply God’s wisdom and power to live life in faithful obedience. Obedience without resorting to red-faced hysterics when we have an unmet need or want--like a nursing infant.