Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mothers in History

Psalm 113:4-6,9 (NKJV)
4 The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, 6 Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? … 9 He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!

Hagar and her son Ishmael were cast out of Abraham’s tent, forced into the wilderness. Wandering in the wilderness with no more water in her waterskin, Hagar placed Ishmael under a shrub to die and herself fell on the ground and cried out to God. God heard her. He appeared to her, showed her a stream of water, and promised that he would be a protector for the boy, raise him up, and make him a great nation.

Hannah was childless and grieving. Meanwhile her husband’s other wife had many children and was mocking her. She knelt, she wept, she cried out to God – and was accused of drunkenness by the priest. Nevertheless, God heard her. She gave birth to Samuel and presented him to the Lord as a prophet in Israel.

Naomi grieved for the loss of her husband and her sons. She called herself Mara, Bitterness, and groaned for her children. Nevertheless, she found comfort in the presence of Ruth. And when Ruth found the fields of Boaz, it was Naomi who cried out to God and encouraged Ruth to seek out Boaz’s protection. God heard her. Boaz married Ruth and prepared the way for the coming of Messiah.

A widow of one of the prophets of Israel, who had been a righteous man, was facing destitution, anticipating the day her sons would be sold into slavery. She cried out to God and petitioned his servant Elisha to help her. God heard her. Elisha multiplied her oil, she paid her creditors and she and her sons lived on the rest.

The Shunammite woman was full of faith but empty of children. Her husband was old and they had no child. She had given up crying out to God – but God heard her and gave her a son by the word of Elisha. But then her son died. In faith she cried out to God and sought out Elisha His prophet. God heard her. Elisha raised her son from the dead and gave him new life.

Mary was a righteous young woman, pregnant by God’s own power and facing the prospect of a betrothed who was determined to divorce her. She cried out to God and God heard her. He visited Joseph in a dream and Joseph remained with her becoming the human father of our Lord.

The widow of Nain was grieved, shattered, broken by the death of her only son. The funeral procession moved through the town toward the graveyard. She wept, no longer crying for help, crying in sorrow. God heard her. He came to the procession, raised the boy, and gave him back to his mother.

Monica was grieved for her son. He was profligate like his father, determined to scorn the God she served. But she cried out to God. God heard her. He broke through the darkness of her son’s blindness and Augustine became one of the greatest thinkers the Church would ever know.

Brothers and sisters, the love of mothers has prompted God to move and to act from the earliest days of biblical history to today. So mothers – love your children and pray for them. God will hear you. Others – love your mothers and give thanks to God for them. Reminded that we have taken our mothers for granted, let us kneel and seek God’s forgiveness.