I’m glad that we celebrate Mother’s Day in the USA. If anyone ever deserved praise, it’s certainly our mothers.
Yet for some, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of what they do not, perhaps cannot, have – children – or be – mothers, at least in the more traditional sense. For these women (both married and single) and couples, the pain of losing a child, miscarriage, infertility, the failure of an adoption that didn’t go through, or losing the hopes of having children may bring aching heart pain and longing made even more acute on Mother’s Day.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.” (Proverbs 30:15-16, ESV)
As I considered this, the Lord brought a comforting word.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” (Genesis 22:13-14, ESV)
The name used for God here is Jehovah Jireh, or “The Lord will provide” or “The Lord will see to it”. We can trust the name of the Lord to provide. And He will provide, but it may not be exactly as we had originally hoped.
He provides us the ability to lift up a sacrifice of praise. The sea billows of grief may roll but as we continue to press into the Lord’s provision, we find that the Holy Spirit’s comfort can both match and EXCEED the depth of our grief and loss. And, even while still grieving we may be able to say it is well with our souls.
Psalms 40 gives us a wonderful example, prefiguring Christ.
My Help and My Deliverer
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,….
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told….
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40, ESV)
In this faith, then, we proclaim the wondrous deeds of the Lord, we proclaim the Lord’s deliverance from sin and death, we proclaim His faithfulness and salvation, His mercy and steadfast love. Even through the sadness, He will cause our hearts to sing “Great is the Lord” and many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
The joy of the Lord is sure to follow on the heels of faith, for our own hearts cannot but be fed as we rehearse to others and ourselves again and again the glorious works and wonders of our loving Father. The more we call these things to mind, the more He fills our minds, our vision, allowing the grief to be overshadowed by a deeper fulfillment.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9, ESV)