This month we celebrate Mothers’ Day! As we do, we will probably be thinking about how special and beloved our mothers are – and we certainly should think those things. Our mothers are very dear gifts to us and we are grateful for them. This month for our devotional thought, I would like for us to consider God’s motherly comfort of his people. Your first reaction to this thought might be one of concern – isn’t it true that God is our Father? Isn’t this concept of “motherliness” in God a bit of a scandal? The short answer to these questions is yes, God is our Father, but no, it is not wrong to speak of God as one who is like mother, because he does so himself.
In Isaiah 66:13, the prophet Isaiah gives us the word of the LORD:
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
In this verse, God compares his comfort to that of a mother – not a father. It might be the case that only when our hearts are naturally turned to the consideration of our mothers’ great and special love for us we can best grasp what this verse offers us. Your mother’s love for you is a spontaneous, personal affection. She loved you when you kicked within her. She loved you when you were soiled and screaming. And through it all, she fixed her eyes and cares on you when as a child you were hurting or frightened. When a child is hurt, it is Mom they call for. It is a mother’s kisses that cure “boo-boos” and “owies.” Your mother knew exactly what was needed to comfort you and she adapted her hugs and words to each one of her children according to their needs. And this is exactly the kind of comfort being described here in our text: “As a mother comforts her child.”
This May celebrate God’s goodness to you in giving you a mother. But remember too to rejoice with gratitude for the motherly comfort that God himself showers directly upon you. You are his child and the comforts he holds out to you are more than sufficient for the needs of each day.
In 1901, Louis Albert Banks, a noted pastor and theologian of his day in America, wrote on this verse: “Are you lonely? Here is a chance to creep into the motherly arms of God and find peace. Are you sorrowful? You may come and put your head upon his breast and weep there and find infinite comfort. Are you sinful? Then there is a heart throbbing with infinite compassion and pity and love. Come, pillow your head here, and find forgiveness.”