“As a mother comforts her child,
So I will comfort you.
You will be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13, The Message.)
This year, Mother’s Day has turned my thoughts toward God.
Odd, you say? Yes, for me too.
Do not worry, I am not about to embark upon a feminist-fueled rant about the relative merits of referring to God as Mother. Better minds than mine have written about this subject at great length.
But the Bible does use some feminine metaphors to describe God’s nature and state of feeling toward us.
The Bible uses feminine metaphors to describe God’s nature.
The verse above is a great example. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” I love this imagery. What a wonderful way to describe the tender, compassionate love of God.
It might be helpful to keep this in mind this Mother’s Day, as families gather together to honour mums of all descriptions.
It can be tempting for the childless among us to feel left out on Mother’s Day. We may feel different. We may feel like we are on the fringes. We may feel hurt and bitter at being passed over or at being made to feel our lives are less valuable because we have not produced offspring.
We may feel jealous of those who have succeeded in achieving the status of “mother”. We might get angry with God. “Why,” we may question heavenward, “did you give that couple a child, but not to us? What are they doing differently? What have we done wrong? Are you even listening?”
We might get angry with God.
God sometimes answers such prayers. He does not always answer with the gift we are seeking, like the wished-for baby. Sometimes he answers with an understanding smile. Sometimes he answers with droplets of rain, as if drawn into empathic sorrow with us. Sometimes he answers with, “I love you.”
I have no idea why God answers us in this way. I have no idea why God gives some people children and not others. These are mysteries larger than we can fathom. Personally, I plan to ask God a couple of key questions when I get to heaven.
These mysteries are larger than we can fathom.
One thing I do know is that hiding my true feelings from God has never helped. So I tend to share everything with him in my own colourful, unfiltered, Steph-specific way. And that includes all sorts of painful emotions and too-hard-basket questions.
Such questions can lead us either toward or away from God, especially when left unresolved. It is my hope and prayer, this Mother’s Day, that your questionings will lead you in God’s direction – and the direction of his motherly comfort.
How do you cope with Mother’s Day? Do you find it helpful to look to God as a source of comfort? What do you think about God having motherly traits? Share your story – let’s have a countercultural conversation.