Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Mother's Heart

Mary comforts young Jesus after fall - The Passion of the Christ
"And a sword will pierce your innermost being too."
~ Luke 2:35b, CEB ~ 

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 
~ John 19:25, NLT ~

Is there anything worse than watching your child suffer?

It's Holy Week.  For the past 16 years, the lense through which I view this week has changed.  Having a son who has suffered so much with his severe bleeding disorder has given me pause to identify not only with the Almighty, but also with Jesus' earthly mother.  The angst, sorrow, and sacrifice involved in my salvation ripples far beyond Jesus himself.
Mary comforts Jesus when he falls carrying the cross - The Passion of the Christ
Even in the animal kingdom, it seems mothers are hard-wired by God to protect their offspring.  "Mama Bear" is the familiar phrase we hear nowadays to describe the woman defending her child in a contentious situation.  Human and animal father alike had best watch themselves when it comes to a mother protecting her baby!

When a child is not feeling well, who can soothe like a loving mother?  Loving arms, tender, soft words, and gentle stroking of the hair brings comfort and gives a child the stamina to fight on.  That yearning continues into our adult years, the want of "Mommy" when life just isn't right.
Image courtesy of 123rf.com
Is there anything worse than the helplessness we feel as parents when we can't help or comfort that child we love?  We can't help but cry out to doctors, school administrators, lawmakers, family members, ANYONE to help when we can't.  Most mothers would rather have their arm amputated without anesthesia than see their child helplessly struggle.  A mom's heart is smashed in a thousand bleeding pieces when her son or daughter is in agony.  We would storm the gates of hell for our children.
Mary at the foot of the cross - The Bible Series
This pain is something that we parents raising children with special needs know all too well.  Bullying at school crushes our hearts.  Harsh, uncooperative educators dissolve us to tears.  Medical trauma ushers in bitterest grief.  Average struggles with chronic illness furrow our brows.  A sword pierces our innermost being too!

As this Easter approaches, so many of you are in the deepest valleys of this bitterest sorrow.  Yet, you are not alone.  You have a God who knows and who sees!  He walked through it, so did the humans He most closely involved in Jesus' earthly life.  Artists have portrayed that heaviest of pain for centuries.
Michelangelo's Pieta in Rome, Courtesy of 123rf.com
Know that in your suffering, you share in the suffering of Christ and those he loved.  Study Mary in her steadfastness, to bring you encouragement.  Take heart in realizing that if we share in Jesus' suffering, how much more we will share in his glory (see Romans 8:17).  That is amazing news!  While our present anguish can seem hopeless, we KNOW how the story ends -- God WINS!  Jesus overcomes the grave!  The deep, incomprehensible suffering of Jesus transformed him from a victim to a King.  And because we love him and share in his suffering, we get the royal treatment as well!  

It may seem small consolation as you shed tears over your child in that hospital room or IEP meeting, but as you meditate on this truth, may it empower you this Easter.  Your God has a heart for a mother's heart.

PRAY:  God of all comfort and Father of compassion, as we recall Jesus' torture and brutal execution, comfort us by lifting our vision beyond the grave.  Remind us that as we share in His suffering, so we will rejoice in an uncomparable bliss that far outweighs what we and our children endure here on earth.  Thank You for this boundless hope in our darkest hours.

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