A Meditation -- By: David Robert Black
PP 6:2-3 (Spring-Summer 1992) p. 2
A graduate of Gordon Seminary, David Robert Black holds a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a T)Mm. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Warren, Ohio. This article is taken from his January 1, 1992, congregational newsletter.
As we begin each new day, not knowing what we’ll experience, we trust in God’s great love. Whether the day be good or ill, whether it be happy or heart-breaking, God’s love will surround and sustain our lives. That’s the promise in the new Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (USA):
“like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still” (lines 49-51).
“For a long time,” the Lord remarks, “I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.” God is like a woman in travail, proclaims the prophet, painfully thrashing about and destroying all that imprisons Israel and keeps her in exile, then wonderfully giving birth to a great miracle: the return home (Isaiah 42:14-17).
All this time, though, Israel is lamenting, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Not so! “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast,” God asks, “and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” It’s most unlikely! Tragically, however, it does happen. Nevertheless, says the Lord, “though she may forget, I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:14-15).
In fact, not only is Israel not forgotten, but God is doing something wonderful and new! So many will come home that Israel will wonder, “Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up?” It seems to be implied that God gives birth to them, that God raises them. And so it is. These sons and daughters are brought by and include the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:19-23).
It’s from the prophet Isaiah, then, that we take the comparison: “Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, God is faithful still.” The description is, therefore, fully biblical. It is a picture of powerful emotion and comfort.
I grew up in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a denomination established by Presbyterian pastor A.B. Simpson. He spoke of the Holy Spirit as the “One who meets all the heart’s longing for motherhood.”
“As our heavenly Mother,” Simpson preached, “the Comforter assumes our nurture, training, teaching, and the whole directio...
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