Five to six years ago, life was a bit rough for me. Part of that roughness extended to my relationship with my mom. I wouldn’t describe myself as a full throttle teen rebel, but things were not as they should have been. I remember racing home moments before my curfew because I knew that my worried mother would still be up and that if I came home a minute or two late, her resulting adrenaline would keep her up most of the night.
It was easy at the time to rationalize and think that my mom just needed to relax and learn to go to sleep. I’m sure the thought crossed my mind at times. But in retrospect, I recognize that my mom was not trying to control or guilt trip me; she simply could not not help (even physically) her concern for me.
My mom was all in for me. Did her concern sometimes frustrate me? Of course. But I could never doubt that my mom cared.
In this way, she imaged the love of God to me. For myself, with my tendency towards legalism, I easily imagine that God is really only concerned about my affairs when I’m close to him. I imagine most of the time he’s off doing his God-thing, working miracles in some other part of the globe, but if I have a particularly powerful time of worship or can piece together three days in a row of prayer and journaling then he turns towards me and is concerned with the things in my life.
When I feel this way, those late nights coming home to my mom remind me of the truth. For, just like my mom who would wait up to make sure I got home regardless of the state of our relationship, so God, regardless of how near or far I feel from him, is there, waiting up for me, waiting to welcome me home.
It’s easy to think of God as a faithful God, keeping his covenant and love with those who love him. But my mom has shown me that he is also a love-no-matter-what God. When I feel like I am far from covenant, he loves me anyway, his thoughts are bent towards me and his heart yearns for my safe return.
Jesus taught us the same thing in the garden of Gethsemane. While he prayed, anticipating his impending self-sacrifice, the disicples slept. Yet even as their attention waned from him, Jesus heart was bent on them recognizing that if the cross was God’s will for their salvation, he would follow through. God’s attention is always on us; when we sleep, when we stray. When we are near, when we are far.
Thanks Mom for reminding me of this; it’s a lesson I pray I will never forget.
May we all dwell in the security that just like my mom has been and is for me, so God is for us – all in, all the time.