First off, can we just say moms are great? The older I get, the more I appreciate moms. I’m in a small group right now with some great moms and hearing their prayer requests reminds me of how hard being a mom really is. God gives moms such a hard job. They pour their hearts and souls into these little kids and then the kids grow up and leave them. So hard.
I know the Bible talks a lot about how God is like a father, but the Bible also talks about how God’s love is like that of a mother too. In the Gospels, Jesus talks about how he wants to draw the Jewish people in to himself just like a mother hen draws in her chicks. God genuinely cares for his children, just like a mother cares for her children. I think there’s another way that God is like a mom though. Looking at moms can give us a great picture of how we work cooperatively with God in this world.
Our Role Vs. God’s Role In Life
I’ve been thinking about all this because this year I’m doing a Bible study on the book of Romans (It’s a BSF class, if you want to know/are looking for a great Bible study yourself). Romans is a great book. It tells the basics of salvation, but it’s also really deep.
The last couple of weeks we’ve been studying Romans chapters 9-11. Personally, I think these chapters are some of the most difficult in the Bible. They talk a lot about God’s election, how God has chosen certain people to come to salvation.
I’ve studied the history of theology. I know that people have argued for centuries about how much of a part we play in our own lives. We know that God, ultimately, is in charge in this world, but we also have free will.
How much can we actually impact our own lives? Honestly, I don’t know and I don’t think anyone this side of heaven will ever know completely. I’m not claiming to have all knowledge, but this is the way I view it: God is like your mom.
Moms Let Us “Help”
Do you remember when you were a kid and you would “help” your mom with dinner or making a cake or doing any other activity? At the time, you felt like you were accomplishing so much. You were putting the flour in the bowl. You were stirring. You were breaking the eggs (badly, I might add, at least in my case). You were helping.
Now you look back and you realize that you really weren’t that helpful at all. Your mom did all the heavy lifting. She was the one that measured out the flour (and cleaned up all the flour you spilled on the counter). Sure, she let you stir a bit, but your little baby arms got tired quickly. She was the one that really mixed everything together. When you made a mess of breaking the egg, mom was the one that pulled out all the eggshell pieces before mixing it in the cake.
Yes, you were doing things. You were helping. However, it was really your mom that was ultimately in control. She praised you and told you what a great helper you were, but really, she could have done the whole thing much more easily without you. I think it’s the same way with God.
God Lets Us Help Too
God is the one that sets everything up for us. We know that life is unpredictable. Sometimes we’re handed an awesome experience out of the blue that totally changes our lives. Sometimes a door shuts in our face. Many times, we don’t do anything for these things to happen.
Sure, we have to the make the decision to take that experience. We have to decide to keep looking for another door after one closes, but we can’t manufacture things like that for ourselves. It’s only God that does that.
Just like your mom measured out the ingredients for you and let you put them in the bowl, God gives you opportunities and takes them away. Now, you can decide not to take them. You can squander them. You can throw the cup of flour on the floor if you want. Still, God will just get more flour and have somebody else put it in or put it in himself. He doesn’t need us.
God Wants Us to Help because He Wants Us to Learn
Though he doesn’t need us, just like your mom, he wants you to learn and he wants you to be a part of what he’s doing. He knows that by doing the little tasks set before us, we’ll become the people he wants us to be.
I learned how to bake because for years and years I helped my mom bake. We learn how to be like Christ by helping God in his tasks in the world. It doesn’t all depend on us, but because he loves us, he wants us to be a part of it.
Like moms, he doesn’t give up on us or kick us out of his plan, even if we mess up, which I’ve done before royally, with both God and my mom
An Embarrassing Baking Incident from High School
When I was in high school, I decided to make some cookies for a Super Bowl party someone in my youth group was hosting. There was a boy I liked in the group and I’d always been told the quickest way to a boy’s heart was through his stomach. My goal was to win his heart through my mean baking skills (which PS, was not effective).
I was making some kind of no-bake cookies. I was also super excited to be using my mom’s brand new Pampered Chef Measure All. If you have no idea what that is, just imagine the epitome of all baking tools.
I had been heating something up on the glass cook top of my mom’s oven. I took the pot I was making no-bakes in off the stove top and added the peanut butter that was in the Measure All. I was happily stirring and mixing. Then I saw something that made me gasp, loudly.
There was my mom’s brand-new Measure All slowly melting on the stovetop. I had forgotten to turn of the heating element and had placed the Measure all right where the hot pot had been. Now my mom’s Measure All looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa with a puddle of melted plastic at the bottom. I was so upset with myself and I felt like my mom was going to kill me.
A Gracious Mom, A Gracious God
She didn’t kill me though. She actually was really calm about the whole thing. She helped me clean up the mess and made sure that my cookies were made. Even better than that, I wasn’t banned from baking ever again. My mom knew that I was likely, as a young baker in training, to make mistakes. Just because I ruined her Measure All (and also a Tupperware bowl that was older than me), she didn’t tell me I could never bake again. She let me continue trying.
God does the same with us. He knows that sometimes we’ll throw the flour on the floor because we’re having a toddler like tantrum. Still he lets us help. We can melt all his cooking tools and still he lets us help. He loves us and wants us to be a part of his work.
We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t always have to be super helpful. We just have to be with him, to want to work with him and learn from him and grow to be more like him.
Like Moms, God Just Wants to Be with Us
That’s really why our moms let us help in the kitchen when we’re little. They want us to be with them, doing things that they like to do and things that will help us to grow up well. They’re gracious to us when we make mistakes and even when we willingly disobey them because they love us and they want to be with us.
So God is like your mom. Actually, God is better than your mom (no offense to your mom). Eventually, if you kept melting all your mom’s cooking utensils, she might actually ban you from baking, maybe just because there were no more baking supplies to bake with.
God will never give up on you. He will never ban you from his plan, no matter how big of a mess you make. Even more than that, he will take whatever mistakes you make and somehow weave it into his plan so that your mistake made the recipe better. You just have to be willing to accept his gift of grace.
A Shameless Plug
If you feel like you don’t really understand grace well or you have a hard time accepting it or giving it to others, check out my ebook devotional 30 Days of Grace. This book will guide you through some Scripture passages on grace, help you to delve deeply into God’s grace, and help you figure out how to put grace into action in your own life. Check it out here.