SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
THE CHALLENGE OF MOTHERHOOD
(Luke 2:34-35) Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also)…
Motherhood. Bringing a human life into the world is such a privilege and even though the man is involved only she knows the special relationship with the child in the womb and then bringing that child into the world. Moms have that nurturing instinct that is finely tuned to the needs of her child. She feels so rewarded as a woman and as a mother for the joy of raising and giving her life for her child. (Psa 113:9) He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord! But is it all joy and no sorrow? The answer is obvious but one which is needful to address to encourage mothers when they are challenged in their parenthood.
Mary was so thrilled to bear the Messiah! We know the story of the angelic announcement of her virgin birth on to the humble delivery in Bethlehem. There were the shepherds followed by the wise men. But we also get a glimpse of the holy family as they make their way to the Temple for Jesus’ circumcision and then for Mary’s purification according to the law of Moses. At the same time the parents were in the Temple an elderly man named Simeon was led by the Spirit to enter the house of worship. He took the child Jesus in his arms and blessed God. He was so happy that he had seen the Lord’s Christ before he died. He offered praise to God.
When Simeon was finished he blessed the parents and then spoke to Mary a prophesy about the effect Jesus would have on the people of Israel. Some would fall because of Him while others would rise. With Jesus, there would be no neutral ground: people would either accept Him or reject Him. As Jesus' mother, Mary would be grieved by the many sorrows He would face. As the prophecy continued, Simeon said a sword would pierce her soul. Mary did feel “the sword” in her heart continually as she watched her Son in His difficulties during His ministry and then at the cross.
The motherly cherishing of a child seems to have no limit. The joys are so gratifying and yet the sorrows are deep and cut to the heart. Moms rise to glorious heights with their children and also sink to bottomless depths below. If Mary had not been forewarned and sustained by her strong faith, she could not have endured the trials which came upon her Son; but God prepared her for it and the devout mother of the dying Savior was sustained. She saw her Son risen and she even worshipped in the new Christian community! (Acts 1:14)
Mother, your faith will sustain you during times of your child’s trouble. Mary made it and many godly women before you have as well. Unsheathe the sword of God’s Word and let it heal your pain as you claim its promises for you and your child! (Heb 4:12; 2 Pet 1:4; Isa 54:13)