The Mothering of God
The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe."
- Albert Einstein
Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!'" Jn 19:26-27
I have always been inept at physical nurturing. Touch and affection come hard. With the exception of our cat buddy, allowing anyone into my space is daunting and frightening. It is on mother’s day that this experience finds a name.
I always dread mother’s day. Church usually offers up a fairly maudlin version of motherhood & for anyone who doesn't fit the mold (most of humanity?), the very presentation & sermon meant to encourage tends to dishearten and depress. As I glance around the congregation and see countless adults wiping away the heartbreak they had buried for years, I find myself wondering why God made us this way. What is it about our relationships with our mothers that speaks so deeply to our being? Why did God create us with such a deep longing to be cherished & cared for?
I have read countless times the scriptural teaching on God’s loving character. I catch glimpses of this in the men I walk with at times but the memory of my mother’s gaze is much more painful & problematic. One only needs to ask my wife to discover how difficult it is for me to see my own loveliness. The burden of my broken estate & the subsequent flaw that is my birthright is real & resident to me. Is it possible that God has sent mothers to offer up a small & initial glimpse of how the Father sees & knows us?
To be nurtured because one needs it is one issue. To be cherished is entirely different & transforming. For those who have not had the experience of being treasured, this part of God’s character is estranged and distant. We are all orphans from the Father. To know His heart for us is to be able to imagine how He longs for our very presence. We first become familiar with this idea when our mothers welcome us home after a day at school. When our homecoming (not every day mind you) has a high degree of focused love, care & celebration, we can then imagine the fanfare of the prodigal’s father.
Today is a day of remembrance. Undoubtedly is will be bitter sweet as is most of life. But for those who long for love, these mother child memories can weigh heavily on the soul. To the orphans this day I say let the Father mother you. Surrender to that ache & let Him touch that profound sense of being unattractive to yourself, to your lover, to your friends & family. Surrender to His unrelenting pursuit. Let His Abba Fatherness be your mothering. Let His welcoming presence be the arms you never felt. Let His tender eyes reveal the pleasure He takes in you. Allow His still small voice to whisper just how much He values your company & looks forward to the intimate times you have together.
Remember, Jesus had a mother. She bore the Son of God. She is counted blessed by the entire family of God since her time on earth. So it must be important that you had a mother. So….To the motherless by circumstance or pain, let this day of remembrance find its meaning in the Father’s heart. For you are the apple of His eye.