As I began preparing to preach on Mother’s Day, I searched the internet just to see what other preachers would be doing that day. What I ended up reading instead was a blogpost and comment thread about how most woman are unhappy with the Mother’s Day sermons they’ve heard in the past. Some felt the day should not be celebrated in church at all, while others thought the church should recognize mothers in some way and then the pastor should preach his message. More than a couple of commenters said that whatever text he was using, what they wanted to hear preached was the gospel! Amen to that. The general consensus was that too often the Mother’s Day sermon comes off as “light” and that wasn’t what the church needed.
While I do not wish to repeat every single comment I read, there was one rant that sticks out in my mind. One woman said that if she heard one more male pastor preach on “Biblical womanhood” telling her what a woman and mother should be, she would be done with church completely. Okay, no Proverbs 31. There’s also consideration to be given to woman who would like to be mothers and have not been yet, or cannot be. We certainly know about that at our house. So it’s with gingerly taken steps that I proceed.
In Genesis 17, Abraham falls down laughing when told that he and Sarah will have a son. In Genesis 18, Sarah laughs inside the tent, then lies about it because she is afraid. They name their son Isaac, which means “he laughs.” We are reminded of a couple of lessons here that need not to be forgotten.
1) Don’t laugh at God. Abraham and Sarah are reprimanded with the question “Is anything too hard for God?” Sarah was 90 years old, and the way the Bible puts it is that “the way of women” was no longer with her. But we’re talking about the God who breathed life into the man he made from mud. We know the God of Job who tells the oceans where to stop and hides the moon during the daytime. He would later cause a virgin to give birth. We should think carefully before what God cannot do.
2) God’s not on our time. He does things in his own time. God is not a genie in a bottle that pops out and grants wishes. We get rattled when we think something is urgent, or decided it has to happen right now. He has ordained the events of history, and establishes the kingdoms and thrones of this world. We need to make sure our God isn’t too small before we let him out of his box.
When I preach this sermon, I will probably include something of our personal story. I’ve thought of writing a post on this as it is. My wife and I were married in 1997, and for several years nothing was happening on the children front. When she got pregnant in 2002, we were elated. We called every person we knew, and our families were both excited for us. At 12 weeks, we made an ER visit late one night and found out that she had already miscarried. That was traumatic, to say the least. In 2004 she tested positive again, and we were able to get in to see the doctor the next day. It was 9 weeks, and the baby was already deteriorating. We scheduled a D&C, and although disappointed it was not the unexpected tragedy the first miscarriage had been.
It’s hard to talk about trusting God to do things in his time, and how all things are in his control, while living through these events. It’s tough accepting sympathy from people that have children, even though they mean well. More than once I have reconsidered my career path in education and youth ministry; here I am raising other people’s kids. By God’s grace may I never preach a light sermon on Mother’s Day.
In December of 2008 Teresa once again showed positive on a pregnancy test. Once again we got into the doctor’s office quick, and were told that two prior miscarriages did not make this pregnancy high risk. But in 11 years we have only been pregnant 3 times, and the first two were unsuccessful. We felt we had to be cautiously optimistic. Teresa is now at 26 weeks, and is entering her third trimester. We’re having a girl, and the due date is August 10th. Say whatever you like, but this Mother’s Day is special to us. She has already received one gift. It will not be a light sermon.