Embraced by Mother GodEssays, Featured — By Kristen Bennett Marble on October 4, 2012 at 5:14 am
With the advent of the holiday season drawing near, many of us will be spending a little extra time with family. Depending on your background and situation, this family time may be a joyous occasion filled with many happy memories, or one choked with dread and despair. Perhaps you find little reason to celebrate, and the holidays bring about bitter memories and realizations of broken or unrealized dreams.
Metaphors of God as family are familiar to most of us. We regularly hear of God as Father, King, and Prince. We even know Him as the Bread of Life, Living Water and Good Shepherd. But what about God as . . . Mother?
Regardless of how you may view the holidays, and specifically relationships with your family in your own life, the metaphor of God as Mother is a beautiful image to explore. Each of us, regardless of our experiences with motherhood, can enjoy the warm embrace of a mother’s love by understanding four ways of God.
1. Way of Protection—Imagine taking refuge under the wings of the Lord. That’s precisely the picture painted by Boaz in Ruth 2:12. But there’s more. Imagine a fire that breaks out on a farm. You struggle and fight to put out the flames that are enveloping the barns and stumble upon the charred, smoldering remains of the hen house. You notice a hen with singed feathers and a limp body lying to the side, but when you move the body of the dead hen, something moves. Suddenly you find four little chicks, safely protected and guarded from the deadly flames under the wings of the hen. Isn’t that the image Matthew 23:37 paints?
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
God is like the mother hen gathering the chicks under its wing, protecting and guarding them from the flames of the world.
2. Way of Comfort—Isn’t it typically the mom who bandages scraped knees, cuddles children tight when lightning and thunder strike, and holds hands when facing scary times? Sometimes all an inconsolable baby needs is the warm embrace and comfort of her loving mother. We often associate the nurturing warmth of a parent-child relationship with mothers, but rarely extrapolate that image to our understanding of God. That makes Isaiah 66:12-13 even more surprising, and yet beautifully comforting.
“For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.’”
3. Way of Patience—I don’t know about you, but I’m not a very patient person—especially when it comes to interacting with my children. I often wonder and worry just how my children will remember me in the future: as a loving, patient mom, or as someone who too often became frustrated and impatient? I don’t think there’s a mom around who doesn’t struggle at times with being patient with her children. But what’s beautiful is that God doesn’t struggle with patience. In fact, we read about His patience in 2 Peter 3:9.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
4. Way of Sacrifice—Moms sacrifice for their children and for their families. They just do. Most moms wouldn’t say their choices are sacrifices as much as just “setting priorities.” But however you may define a mom’s selfless involvement in others’ lives, the word “sacrifice” seems a natural fit.
God’s way is also the way of sacrifice. In fact, He made the ultimate sacrifice by sending His only son to the cross for my sin and for your sin. It was in that sacrifice that we see God’s ways of protection, comfort, and patience fully embodied. Paul expresses this beautifully in 2 Corinthians 8:9:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
As you consider the ways of God—the ways of protection, comfort, patience, and sacrifice—may you feel the warm embrace of a mother’s love. She longs to gather you under Her wings where you can take refuge. She comforts you as a mother comforts her child. Her patience with you and sacrifice for you are done out of an extreme love and compassion.
How does viewing God as a Mother change your perspective?