As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
(Isaiah 66:13)

WE ARE WATCHED OVER BY A GOD WHOSE LOVE FOR US IS THE UNIQUELY TENDER LOVE OF A MOTHER FOR HER CHILDREN. Within the Trinity of God’s divine being there is to be found the perfect summation of all of the qualities that were divided between masculinity and femininity at our creation (Genesis 1:26,27). The complementary nature of men and women in our world is a reflection of the perfect communion that exists within the triune personality of God’s own being. Thus none of the unique endowments of men and women are insignificant. Each has its counterpart in God’s character, and each needs to be taken seriously in our own character and in our own interactions with others. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the matter of love. The familiar texts that speak of God as having a father’s love are complemented by those that describe the divine love in motherly terms. The fatherliness of God’s love is perfected by its motherliness.

If God loves us with a mother’s love, this is more than a theoretical point. In day-to-day practice, we should not fail to have the same kind of love for one another. Even Paul, the strong soldier of the faith, understood the need for tender love. To the church in Thessalonica, he wrote, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7,8).

A mother is able to touch her children with a special tenderness because she understands them in a special way. God’s perfect love for us, of course, is possible because of an infallible understanding of our hearts, and we shall not be able to reach that level of empathy for one another. What we certainly can do, however, is to make a more conscious effort to understand the kinds of things a mother understands — and to love accordingly. If we seek God, we will seek to love as God loves. In our love and in our dealings with God’s children, we will include not only the productiveness of a father, but the tenderness and insight of a mother.

“A mother understands what a child does not say” (Jewish Proverb).

Gary Henry — +

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