This is the second in a five-part series about mothers in the Bible. You can read about Eve here.
M is for Mary
Mary is the most famous woman in the Bible. For good reason: giving birth to the Son of God will do that for you.
I’ve heard from some mothers that having a child forces you to face your own sinfulness. Imagine being the mother of the sinless One. Many mothers are driven to their knees when they see the troubles and weaknesses in their own children. Was Mary driven to her knees because raising Jesus pointed out her own weaknesses?
I don’t know about you, but when I picture Mary, I picture stained glass windows or Renaissance paintings of “Madonna and Child.” Colorful, but one-dimensional. Thankfully, we have Luke’s gospel where we have a fuller picture of Mary — her thoughts and emotions.
She was not just a serene-faced pane of glass. She marveled. She pondered. She feared. She questioned. Then, on one horrible day, she watched her Son die for the sins of mankind. Did she stand at the cross and remember Gabriel’s words that she was “blessed” and “highly favored”? Did they sink into her heart like gall.
Two days ago was “bereaved mother Sunday” for mothers who have lost children. Yesterday I walked through a graveyard and noticed several sorrowful tombstones: “infant daughter” with birth and death dates the same day, “asleep in Jesus” for a two year old, and the saddest, a black shrine with a young man’s name and at the bottom were the words, as if the sharp agony of the parents’ loss had etched the words into the stone, “our only son.”
How can these mothers be called blessed?
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4)
There are other women who have lost children. Women who chose to follow Christ in cultures where doing so will cause their husbands to divorce them (at best) and take their children. The law usually sides with the husband because the woman has no rights to begin with and her new faith has made her an apostate.
These women are considered blessed too.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:10)
Blessed doesn’t mean happy, and thank goodness for that. If that were true, it would mean our circumstances would determine if we were blessed or not. What makes us blessed is having the presence of God in our lives and abiding in His Son.
If you have trusted in Jesus, then you are blessed.
You are blessed, dear mother, though you realize you have more sins to confess.
You are blessed, dear mother, who must walk through the dark days of the loss of a child.
You are blessed, dear mother, who has chosen to follow Christ though your earthly family has turned away and taken your children from you.
You are blessed, dear woman, who faces the fear of infertility or of barrenness.
You are blessed, dear woman, who has chosen as your “children” the little ones of family and friends.
You are blessed because you have been redeemed. Nothing, no sorrow or sin can take that away from you. You can say, like Mary, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.“*
(Luke 1:46-50, emphasis mine)