Summary: Mothers Day sermon on the comfort and compassion of God, which is described in Scripture as a mother's love.

I was having coffee with a few fellow Army chaplains, and we started telling “mother-in-law jokes.” One of the chaplains was just sitting quietly, listening to our dumb jokes. He finally spoke up: “Well you know, my wife’s mother-in-law is pretty nice.”

Since we’re honoring our moms today, I thought I’d give you some quotes from people in the Bible…

“David, I told you not to play with that slingshot! You’ll put someone’s eye out! Go practice your harp; we pay good money for your music lessons.”

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, where in the world have you three boys been? Why you all smell like a dirty old furnace!”

“Noah, I’ve told you a hundred times to stop bringing stray animals home; you can’t keep them.”

“Esther, enough with all this make-up; you must think you’re the Queen!”

“That’s a nice story, Jonah, but where have you really been for the past three days?”

“Samson, would you please interrupt your body-building for a minute and take out the garbage?”

Mothers specialize in compassionate nurturing. The Hebrew word for this divine quality is unusual, in that it refers to the “wounded womb of God.” In modern usage, we might describe that as a “gut-feeling”. Yet it’s much more. This is an overpowering, deep-rooted ache. Just think of the military moms whose children are serving in Afghanistan. This is the kind of love God has for us; He cares for us like a mother. He has a maternal-like compassion for us, His children. He cares about our hurts even more than we do.

When children are upset, who do they go to? If someone has bullied them at school, or if they need money, they may go to their dads; but to get comfort, most will go to their moms, who seem especially equipped to soothe hurts and dry tears. Dads are capable of compassion, but moms excel at it. It’s been said, “A dad becomes concerned when his child breaks a bone…a mother when her child skins a knee!”

God pays tribute to motherhood in the closing chapter of Isaiah as He describes His love for His children as a “mother’s love”: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (66:13). Also in Isaiah, God assures us of His steadfast love for His children: “Does a mother forget her baby, or a woman the child within her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget My own” (49:15). God is committed to us. Jesus paid a similar tribute to motherhood when He compared His loving concern for Jerusalem to a hen gathering her chicks under her wing (Mt 23:37).

The love of a godly mother typifies the love of God for all His children. The Smothers Brothers built their comedy career over a sibling argument: “Mom always liked you best!” A mother who had nine children was asked which one she loved the best. She answered: “The one who’s sick until he gets well; and the one who is away until he returns home.” The older brother of the Prodigal Son likely (and mistakenly) thought his father preferred his younger, wayward brother. Some kids require less maintenance and anxiety, but that doesn’t mean they receive less love.

The patience of a godly mother also typifies God’s “long-suffering” nature. The Apostle Peter writes how God is “not slow in keeping His promises…He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Pet 3:9).

Parents try to be involved with their children, especially during the trying teen years, but total supervision is impossible, and the ability of parents to control their kids’ choices is limited. Mothers can teach values, but can’t make moral choices for their kids. They offer advice and make it known that they’re willing to listen.

Expectant parents usually take birthing classes offered by hospitals…then realize what they really need is child-rearing classes. When they go home with that bundle of joy, they’re often overwhelmed. “Now what? What are we supposed to do for the next 18 years?” Kids don’t come with instructions, and most parents I know feel a profound sense of inadequacy. I often tell moms who’ve had an especially difficult labor and delivery: “The easy part’s over.”

One of the more realistic books on parenting teens is titled, “Get out of my life, but first would you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?” by Anthony Wolf. He states how teens both resent yet need their parents. He tells of a mother and her daughter who were at the mall shopping for school clothes. All of a sudden the daughter disappeared; she was hiding under a rack of clothing. The reason? She spotted a group of her friends approaching and didn’t want to be seen with her mother! That would be mortifying! Sometimes a parent’s mere presence in the same room causes real discomfort in teens. A mother hoping for some appreciation said, “Do you realize how much time I spend driving you around?” Her teen replied, “What’s that go to do with anything?” Being a parent isn’t easy. Sometimes children make us proud; at other times we can’t find enough handkerchiefs to dry our tears.

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