As the story goes, a teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson about a magnet and what a magnet does. You probably still remember the first time you were introduced to magnets and the astonishment that came over you at their power to attract. The next day in a written test, the teacher included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is ‘M.’ What am I?” When the text papers were turned it, the teacher was surprised to find that almost half of the students answered the test question with the word “Mother.”
But she shouldn’t have been surprised, should she? Mothers are always picking stuff up and putting things back into place. Sometimes it has to do with toys and articles of clothing, but sometimes it has to do with hopes and dreams. Who among us hasn’t found both comfort and courage through the careful attention of a devoted mom? She often sees things in us that we could never have recognized, and her affirmation of those attributes pushes us lovingly toward developing those talents and abilities in ways that enable us to enjoy life and be productive persons.
Come to think of it, that’s how the Bible at times describes God’s attention to us. God watches over us. God comes to our defense. God nurtures and instructs us. These maternal images of God reflect how His tenderness toward us attracts us with a love that simply will not let us go.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. If your mother is still living, make sure you let her know how grateful you are for all she has done on your behalf. If she isn’t, pause and give thanks for how her love formed you into the person you are. Most importantly, if you are a mother, think about how you can model God’s love for those under your care so that one day they too will be caught up by the power of a greater affection. Such a witness will stick with your loved ones for the rest of their days, just as no doubt your mother’s witness is still sticking with you.
“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).