Yesterday’s National Post revealed that “Most mothers report feeling disappointment on Mother’s Day, despite receiving more attention than fathers do on Father’s Day, a new study has found” (May 10, 2003). While it’s a good day for many, it’s also a hard day for others.
You may have heard of the letters to God from kids. One girl wrote, “Dear God: Are boys really better than girls? Try to be fair, even though you are one.”
One of the problems when we talk about God is that we’re limited, and often end up thinking in human terms. While God definitely uses male terms to describe himself, he also uses the powerful image of motherhood to describe his relationship with us.
Yet Jerusalem says, “The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.” “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand. Ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
“Ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins” – God’s got us in his mind; we’re constantly in his thoughts, even in our brokenness
“I have written your name on my hand” – Whatever God does, he’s reminded of us. In a sense, our names became permanently written on Jesus’ hands through the crucifixion.
“Can a mother forget?…Even if that were possible, I would not forget you.” God’s love even exceeds that of a mother for her child.
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13)
Image of a mother comforting a hurt child – how God wants to embrace us in our hurts.
“LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or awesome for me. But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD-now and always.” (Psalm 131)
A song of ascents – what pilgrims sang on the way to Jerusalem to worship.
“My heart is not proud…” – a sense that as we come to worship, our accomplishments and credentials become unimportant. We simply become a worshiper.
“As a small child is quiet with its mother” – The picture is of a weaned child, maybe 4-5, who wants to cuddle with its mother, not out of physical need, but out of a desire to be close, to be loved.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37)
Image of a mother hen. As she senses danger, she calls out for her chicks to come underneath her wings for protection.
God calls for us to come for protection, but we don’t come.
Motherly love is among the strongest of human loves – and it provides a window to understanding the love of God for us.