Words begin to fail as soon as we try to describe a mother. Nurturer, selfless, loving, kind, intuitive, caring—she is all of these and much more. No other human relation comes close to the bond that a child shares with her mother. In recent times, Mother’s Day, celebrated every year on second Sunday of May, also, displays a range of emotions expressed towards almost superhuman mothers by people across the world, through various media.
Let us look at the scripture to understand this God-like selfless love that a mother is full of.
The Bible attributes motherly qualifiers to God. Isaiah 66:12-13 says, “For this is what the Lord says: “Look, I am ready to extend to her prosperity that will flow like a river, the riches of nations will flow into her like a stream that floods its banks. You will nurse from her breast and be carried at her side; you will play on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
God is like a mother too! This is intriguing because most of the time we call God our Father, and only a few would dare to think that God can have motherly attributes too.
God himself is the epitome of motherly love—“as a mother cares for her child, I will also care for you.”
In the Old Testament, God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and not the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel. But God did not demand that He should only be described as Father. God also allowed the Prophet Isaiah to describe his motherly love for Israel.
God described Israel as a mother from whose breasts Israelites can drink milk, that the Israelites can be gently rocked to sleep in the arms of her mother, and that they can play with her. God also disclosed that it is not only Israel that acts as a mother to her children, but that God himself is the epitome of motherly love—“as a mother cares for her child, I will also care for you.”
God also did not allow a total blackout of women in the Bible. There are famous women in the Bible like Queen Esther, and Ruth. These two women have two books in the 66 books in the Bible—only 3%—yet their stories were told. There is Deborah, the female judge. There is Rahab, the harlot, who was applauded for her faith. In the New Testament, there were many women disciples of Jesus who actually were the financial supporters of Jesus, like Mary.
Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna (Luke 8:1-3). Statistically speaking, the names of women in the Gospels are mentioned more than the names of the twelve disciples, except that of John and Peter.
Jesus was very radical in challenging the patriarchal worldview of the Jewish tradition. He healed women; he spoke to them about spiritual truths. The words—“You must worship God in spirit and in truth” was spoken by Jesus to the adulterous woman when she asked where the proper place of worship is. Jesus also came to the rescue of another adulterous woman who was about to be stoned to death. The actions of Jesus towards women during his time were very revolutionary. Many were shocked by what Jesus did especially the religious leaders. Jesus gave women the honour and dignity they deserved.
Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, and walk away from the baby she bore? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” Yes, we hear stories of mothers abandoning their newborn babies but God in the Bible reveals himself as the kind of mother who would not abandon us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.