Mother's Day is Sunday and I'm preaching in Humboldt. That's where my focus is though I did remember three special moms I wanted to let know just exactly how special they are: Aunt May, who has been a mother to me in many ways; Marty, our daughter and Liz, our daughter-in-law. Marty and Liz together have given us seven beautiful grandchildren and their gifts to us are immeasurable.
Aunt May now lives in a retirment home--not her choice, but she, as she always has, accepts the arrangement and goes on with life. I have no doubt that she brings encouragement and sunshine into the lives of others who live there. She probably doesn't even realize the effect she has on other people. I do. She was a stabilizing influence on me when I was a child and by taking me into her family she gave me a "sister" who I dearly love. During the ups and downs of our health issues her voice remains in my head and gives me counsel. The values I learned in her home remain with me as well. The love she exhibited when my uncle was ill, the care she gave him are an inspiration to me as I live with Tom in his illness.
As I prepare to preach Sunday I am mindful that Mother's Day, though significant, is not a religious holiday, but a Hallmark one. My conviction is that a worship service honors God and that God's Word should be preached. For me, a way to say something about mothers and also be faithful to my convictions is to take a look at Hannah, how she prayed before Samuel was born, how she prayed when he was born and how she continued to pray for him as a faithful Jewish mother. For some background material I turned to one of my favorite Old Testament commentators, a seminary professor who made the Scripture come alive.
In Dr. Davis's commentary on I Samuel, he writes some about barreness, mentioning the women in the Covenant story (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, the mother of Samson and of course, Elizabeth in the New Testament) who were at one point barren, but then went on to produce men who were great leaders in Biblical history. This statement really struck me: God's tendency is to make our total inability his starting point.
Whether we are praying for a child to be conceived, a relationship to be restored, a job to be found or an illness to be cured, God can work when we can do nothing. It's easy to shove that truth back into the dark corners of our brain while we go through the motions of everyday living. Little did I know when I began to reread Hannah's story (one of my favorites) and prepare for Sunday that God would send me my own special message! I have no ability to cure the illnesses that we have, but God is at work in both of us. We don't know the end of our story, but we have every confidence in the One who is writing it.
I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day with those you love.