This Sunday our country celebrates our mothers—and rightly so. For the care and love which our mothers have given us is beyond price or measure. Of course, our earthly parents are not perfect. Sometimes they’re quite far from perfect. But any love we’ve known from them is a likeness of the love God has for us. A religious icon is made of mere wood and paint, but it can be a window to heavenly realities. In the same way, we can see through our parents’ love a glimpse to God Himself.
Most of us have more memories about our mothers than we could possibly count, but today I would like to take you back to a time and place about which you have no clear memories—to the time in your mother’s womb.
In the Bible, the number forty denotes times of waiting and preparation: For instance, Noah spent 40 days and nights in the ark. The Hebrews wandered with Moses for 40 years in the desert. Before His ministry, Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness, and after His death, He rested 40 hours in the tomb. Similarly, you remained 40 weeks, more or less, within your mother’s womb, being prepared for a new life.
Attached to your mother’s vine you grew into the mature fruit of her womb. You were nourished and matured within her. You were never far from her heart or mind. You existed in within her, connected to her at the center of your being. She fed you with her very self. She provided for all your needs. Apart from her, you could do nothing. You remained in her and found rest within her.
In the womb, at the earliest stages of our lives, our minds did not comprehend very much, but what if you could have understood everything that your mother was doing for you at the time? Surely you would have directed your thoughts to her often. And certainly, from time to time, you would have turned to her with the eyes of your heart to bask in her love for you.
What if you could have talked with your mom from the womb? Would you not have taken the opportunity to speak with her every day? Would you not have thanked her daily out of a deep gratitude? Would you not have let her know each day how much you love her? Whoever would refuse or neglect to express such love and thanks would continue to live, at least functionally or biologically, but they would not be fully alive without this relationship with their mother.
As you and your mother would continue to talk, as the days and months of pregnancy passed by, she would eventually present you with a most-frightening prospect: She might put it this way, “My child, soon, in a little while, you are going to begin a new stage of your life. You will be departing from the life you know, and then you’ll experience a whole world of people and things you have never known before.”
You might say, “I’m scared! I don’t want to go—not now, not ever!” But she would answer, “I realize this concept is scary for you, but trust me when I say that it is better that you go. In fact, someday soon you’ll look back and think it a silly thought to be again as you are now. This transition is going to hurt a little bit… trust me, I know… but when the appointed time comes, I’ll be right here with you. Don’t be afraid. It’s going to be O.K.”
This morning we reflect on this time in the womb because our life in our mothers is like our life in Christ. As it was with our mothers, so it is, in our life with Christ. You are attached to Him as to a vine you mature as a child of God. You are nourished and grow within Him. You are never far from His heart or mind. You exist within Him, connected to Him at the center of your being. He feeds you with His very self. He provides for all your needs. Apart from Him, you can do nothing. You remain in Him and find rest in Him.
Knowing and believing this, shouldn’t we direct our thoughts to Him often? Shouldn’t we, from time to time, turn to Him with the eyes of our hearts to bask in His love for us. We have the ability to talk with Jesus Christ, in prayer, whenever we wish. Who would not take the opportunity to speak with Him every day? Who would not thank Him daily out of deepest gratitude? And who would not let Him know each day how much we love Him? Whoever would refuse or neglect to speak with Him, would continue to live, at least functionally or biologically, but they will not be fully alive without this relationship with Christ. We need to pray every day if we want to remain in Him and bear much fruit.
We don’t want to die and that’s perfectly natural. But Jesus says to us, “Soon, in a little while, you are going to begin a new stage of life. You will be departing from the life you know, and then you’ll experience a whole world of people and things you have never known before. I realize this concept is scary for you, but trust me when I say that it is better that you go. In fact, someday soon you’ll look back and think it a silly thought to be as you are now again. This transition is going to hurt a little bit… trust me, I know… but when the appointed time comes, I’ll be right there with you. Don’t be afraid. It’s going to be O.K.”
Today, let us thank God for the life, love, and tender care we have received from our mothers and through Jesus Christ. God bless our mothers and praised be Jesus Christ.