“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15
The image of a mother and her child is a powerful one and there is nothing else like it. A father may hold and protect a helpless infant, but only a mother can nurse and nourish with her body. A father may laugh and wrestle with his child, but only a mother will ever feel that child struggle and kick from within her womb. All relationships in this world are lives intertwined with other lives, yet no relationship, except the mother and the child, is one of life carrying another life. For nine whole months, the child will grow and learn to hear mother’s voice. Mother’s own body will be the shield, warmth and protection from the elements for that developing child’s own fragile little body. It is no wonder then, that mother and child have a special bond unlike any other.
I have often heard it said that a father may leave his child, but that a mother never will. In Canada, single mothers outnumber single fathers with children, four-to-one. But though statistics attest to the bond between mother and child, this is not absolute. We all know of children whose mothers have abandoned them as they chose their own pleasures and lusts instead of the privilege of motherhood. How incredulous this seems and it yet it is true! “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?” asks the Lord. “Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
How great is the Lord’s care for us! His great love infinitely exceeds the most intimate picture of life-sustaining love on the earth! And as deep as the most doting mother’s love is for her child, the Lord says that his love is greater still! Though a mother may suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia and forget your name, the Lord knows the very hairs upon your head and even the new name which he will give you on a white stone (Rev 2:17). Though a mother may fill herself with alcohol and abandon you, your heavenly Father will never leave you or forsake you, and promises to fill your emptiness with his Spirit. Never will we wail piteously for spiritual milk and find ourselves with nothing to slake our spiritual thirst. Never will we cry for food and find that the Lord has let his righteous go hungry (Prov 10:3).
Believer, do you ever contemplate that as vast as the difference is between a mother and a child, the difference between us and God is greater still? Do you realize that as helpless as an infant is, we are more helpless still? When the suffering of our lives seems intolerable, are you encouraged by the knowledge that the Lord cares for you more intimately than any mother does?
Though we might cry to our Lord ten times a day as needy infants do, we should never fear that our cries will go unheeded. Our Lord is closer to our cradle than any mother could possibly be. He nurses us with the milk of his Word and treats our spiritual sickness of sin with the blood of his own Son. Therefore, be content, little Christian child. Remember that your heavenly Father hears your cries and will never, ever forget you. And if he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us (Rom 8:32), how much more, will he remember us in our hour of greatest need.