“How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:12-13
Our number 13 grandchild was welcomed into the sight of the world this last Saturday; our sight of him and his of us. Birth never ceases to amaze! It is a most incredible miracle. To a mother, it is a mystery to have a living being growing and developing inside her own body; strange feelings of another separate life moving within; an experience of which we men know nothing. Even with increasingly clear ultrasounds, we do not know the complete picture of this new eternal being until his or her birth. God sees the unformed substance even before a baby grows to the extent of its nine months or less young life. God designed and created Eve and her daughters with the capacity to perform this life-producing purpose of which no man is capable, other than providing the necessary seed.
However, the work of pregnancy is but a beginning. The vital performance of early life nurturing and molding is a time-consuming, all-encompassing task which sets a new life on a journey very dependent on those first five to seven years; a critical time which often sets the direction of an entire life. As Augustine has said, “Give me a child for seven years, and he is mine for life.” Divine intervention can redirect a more mature life, but even in the case of the Apostle Paul, his early life training became very foundational to his powerful post-Damascus road ministry. In her commitment to godly mothering, a mother performs the most transformational impact on a sinful world in producing sons and daughters who in Christ exert a redemptive influence, redirecting the world’s destructive course in many arenas. Bless the mothers who have borne and especially edified and molded those godly servants who have sought righteousness in the myriad trenches of sin warfare. In the fullness of God’s providence, mothers have been powerful instruments as “craftsmen” at God’s side.
Holding a days-old infant again, I am freshly reminded of their complete vulnerability and dependency on mother and father for everything. At two, three, five, they are not quite so vulnerable physically and can do things for themselves, but they are still just as vulnerable in their spirit, their feelings and emotions, and their heart as they were physically in the first days of life. This is too often forgotten in the continuing requirement of necessary nurture and consistent discipline in those beginning years. In these years, the most consuming weight in time and immediate responsibility is on mother.
We are familiar with famous lives of history which, for diverse and not necessarily worthy reasons, gain notoriety; but God knows every life and the full picture of history surrounding these lives where many unknowns influenced the world for good of which we know nothing. In these lives, there was the valiant life of a mother working in obscurity to do what God asked of her in molding sons and daughters to be followers of the Lamb. In the new heavens and new earth, a thorough and true human history will be made known, not dependent on the inaccurate histories of fallible men and women, and the good deeds of the saints will be brought to light and rewarded; in these situations, the work of mothers will be manifest, worthy of reward. The honor of such mothers is seen throughout the Scripture, not the least at the foot of the cross where Mary’s heart was pierced viewing her son’s crucifixion.
Why raise the cup of salvation for your mother? Because the gesture of this “toast” is the expression of thanksgiving to God for the goodness He has bestowed on us in placing in our lives those we call our mother(s). So raise this cup of salvation to the Lord in your hearts and in your verbal expression of thanksgiving in the ears of the one who nurtured and molded you from your first days until her task ended. It was the Lord’s grace that saved you, and His grace to you was delivered by a woman known as “Mama, “Mom, “Mother.
There are some women blessed with children who did not live up to the honor God made possible. In the cases of those who are snatched from the fire of parental evil and irresponsibility by God’s pure grace and mercy, this heavenly Father can be both mother and father to the “orphan.” Then lift the cup of salvation to Him and to those He sent into your path who played this part in your life. No matter the treacherous path you have trod, there is great healing and salvation in giving thanks in all things. The one who learns this in the crucible of life knows joy that truly goes beyond understanding. In turn, you should be the mother or father you may not have had to your children, or the grandparent who draws them to the Shepherd of their souls. There is always a medicine available from Him who is able to heal all ills. I am always saddened by those who remain imprisoned in a joyless life because of the sin of others. In essence, they have only themselves to blame, for Christ offers them the antidote to any such situation. To miss it is the greater tragedy in your life than enduring the bad choices of others which place a truly false claim on your heart.
So lift up the cup of salvation to your mother and call on His name with thanksgiving, for God has bestowed goodness on you through her.
“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted.” Isaiah 66:13
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