Recently, I saw a video that I am sure many of you saw as well. A young mother was pushing her baby in a carriage down a street in a large US city. The driver of a car purposely swerved to hit the woman and her baby. You could not see the baby, but you could see the mother being thrown high into the air, then crashing down on the pavement. The carriage was pushed up into a brick wall, then crumbled to the ground.
It was horrible. But what happened next was, in one sense, amazing. You wondered if the mother was going to survive, but she quickly jumped up and ran to the baby carriage. There was not a split second of time in which she checked her own injuries. Had she broken any bones? In her anger, didn’t she want the license plate number of the person who did this to her and her baby? These things did not matter. Her only concern was to get to her child and make sure he was OK. If he wasn’t, she would do whatever was necessary to get him the care he needed. Her own condition did not even enter her mind. Clearly, as long as she was alive, she would, if necessary, jump up and run on two broken legs to take care of that kid. Her adrenaline would make that possible. In this case, thankfully, the baby did not suffer any significant injuries.
I say it was amazing in one sense. Her actions were indeed incredible. But in another sense, no one who saw that video was surprised. We have all seen a mother’s love in action. We all know that a 100-pound woman would fight the heavyweight champion of the world if he threatened her child. She would literally die if she thought her baby was in danger. We even have a phrase for that: “Don’t mess with a momma bear.” That is true even if that bear is a size 2.
Isaiah the prophet speaks of this practically universal truth. He says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isa 49:15). The expected answer is, “of course not.” A woman who does not place the care of her child first–above even her own life and safety–is what would be unnatural. That would be something very strange to see.
But the best part is what Isaiah says next. He states that even if we were to see an uncaring mother, there is something we will never see. God will never forget his children. His love for them is even greater than the love of a mother for her child.
There are some differences between God’s children, the Jews, in Isaiah (Jer 31:20) and the baby in the video. The baby had done nothing wrong. But even if he had, the mother would have responded in the same way. The Jews, on the other hand, had done wrong. They were taken into captivity by the Babylonians because of their sin. They were being disciplined by their heavenly Parent. In the analogy, they deserved to get thrown up against the brick wall. They were now complaining that God had forgotten them, and that He didn’t care. But that was not true. God would bring them back from that captivity. Even more, He would send the Christ and exalt the nation in His coming kingdom. Like the love of a mother for her child, His love for them remained.
As believers, Christians are the children of God (1 John 3:1). Even when we do wrong, His love for us does not change. I love the way that mother acted. It is not very macho to say, but it is true: It is a picture of the Lord’s care, compassion, and love for me. As His child, I am like the baby in that carriage. I might not understand why something happens. Or, like Israel, I may even bring on calamity in my life by my actions. But I know the One in control of the carriage has my best interests at heart. He will come to my aid. He loves me.
We can watch from afar and marvel at the love a mother has for a child. Let us all marvel also at the greater love God has for us.