Generally, throughout the scriptures God is referred to in the masculine. He is seen as our father, but there are a some passages that compare God to a mother. Isaiah 66:13 portrays God as a comforting mother, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” In Isaiah 49:15 God is compared to a nursing mother, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” It is hard to imagine that a mother would forget the child she once nursed, yet Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can rob a mother even of that memory. Still, God will never forget.
Comfort and compassion are characteristics of God. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:16-17 ESV). Many translations use the word comforter rather than “helper” to describe the Holy Spirit in this passage. 2Corinthians 1:3-4 says,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Matthew 5:4 promises, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In Isaiah 51:12 God says, “I am he who comforts you.” Psalms 147:3 says that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” These are just a few of the many passages that speak of God as comforter.
Comfort is what mothers do. Moms have a way of taking the pain of their children on themselves. They bind up our wounds, assure us of our value, and listen to us in our pain. Moms care, maybe sometimes too much. Often when the child is back out playing the Mom is still fretting over the pain their child experienced and how much worse it could have been. God is like that. Not that he worries, but that he binds up our wounds, listens to our complaints, assures us of our value, and encourages us to continue on.
I am sometimes shocked at the words the Psalmist wrote or Job spoke. My first impression is that they shouldn’t talk like that to God. But then I realize that God knew how they felt already. He can only salve our wounds when we are honest about having wounds. He can only comfort our pain when we are honest about our anger and frustration. God does not condemn nor chide Job or David for their words. He comforts them.
I wrote yesterday that God never gives up on us. That is true. Not only does he not give up on us, he comforts us in our pain, walks with us in the dark, listens when we complain, and loves us no matter what. That sounds a lot like a Mom. I am deeply grateful for God as comforter. You can not only trust him, you can rest in his arms when all else seems hopeless. Like a nursing mother, God will never forget us, but holds us compassionately and comforts us in our fear and pain.
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