WHAT A GIFT GOD GAVE US IN OUR MOTHERS.
My youngest, Annie, e-mailed me last week:
How I remember those days as a young mom when I was sick, Steve was working, and the boys were running wild.
I wanted my mother too!
My mother was the best when I was sick.
Cool washcloths on my forehead,
7-Up and pretzels;
stories, songs, and
looks of loving concern.
For many of us our mothers are no longer on earth.
For others, mothers are not the comforting presence our hearts yearn for.
But though a mother may not be present,
though a mother may be broken,
though a mother may forget,
Isaiah says God will never forget you.
This week is for all of us, with one of the
most comforting promises in Isaiah,
and a favorite Keller sermon.
Many of you have heard the story I will tell this week, about a psalm that is tied to this promise in Isaiah, but I must tell it again. For not only does it illuminate these passages, but it is a vivid reminder of how God can be the best mother:
nurturing and never forgetting us.
She may forget.
But I will never forget.
That’s the promise.
I’ll begin the story today, this Mother’s Day,
and continue on as we go through the passages
that show us that God’s love
is even better than a mother’s love.
My story began with a lament. Not too different than
Annie’s lament of last week. But for me it was:
I want my husband!
I was alone in the king-sized bed Steve and I used to share. A bed too big for one, but I cannot let it go.
If one of us couldn’t sleep,
we would whisper to the other:
Are you awake?
And then we would be.
Steve would often pray over me, or even quote nursery rhymes like
Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.
He can take it. He wants honesty.
So I cried:
You promised you would be a husband to the widow, but how can You be? You aren’t even flesh and blood. I don’t feel like You are even here!!!
OH LORD, why did you take Steve? There are plenty of lousy husbands, fathers, and doctors — why didn’t You take one of those?
You promised to be with me,
but I don’t sense You here at all.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. On this Mother’s Day, what is one thing for which you can give thanks in regard to your mother?
Monday – Wednesday Bible Study
3. In a classic lament, the psalm begins with an honest lament, telling God how he really feels, and then there is a turn and a trust. Look at Psalm 13 and identify both the lament and the turn and a trust.
The night that I lamented in my bed, a memory came to me of when I was a first time mother and needed to keep J. R. quiet in our little apartment with paper thin walls in the night. Steve needed to sleep, so I would run to that baby when he cried out, unbuttoning my bathrobe as I ran, so as not to lose time. I would take him to my breast but he acted like I wasn’t even there, wailing and flailing. I WAS THERE, MY MILK LET DOWN, BUT HE WOULD NOT LATCH ON. Finally he would find me and I would think, Oh my — what was all that about?
And at that moment I realized God was saying, I am right here, Dee — what is all this about? It was the turn in my lament. But it didn’t stop there, for the next morning the psalm I happened to be on was this one:
5. Read the following psalm, the psalm that I was on that morning: Psalm 131.
A. What statement of trust does the psalmist make in verse 1?
B. Compare this with Job 42:1-6. What parallel do you see and what is the significance? (Read the context if you are unfamiliar with it.)
C. Read Psalm 131:2-3 and explain how this follows the psalmist’s resolve to trust that God knows what He is doing. Every day we face challenges. You may feel today like this one today.
7. Read Isaiah 49:14-16
A. What are God’s people saying in verse 14?
B. What promises does God make in verses 15-16?
C. Is this real to you?
IN REMBRANDT’S “Return of the Prodigal” Henry Nowen observed that the son’s bald head looks like a baby returning to the womb, that the father has one masculine hand and one feminine hand, and that the cape looks like wings sheltering a baby bird.
8. Read Matthew 23:37
A. How does God the Son show His mother-like qualities here?
B. Why do you think God ordained marriage to be one woman and one man?
Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon: Can A Mother Forget?
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9. Share your notes and comments.
10. What is your take-a-way and why?