"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:13 (NRSV)
Being a dad has been one of the most beautiful and amazing things in my life. The boys would come to me for certain things, but they would go to mom if they wanted comfort. I think that is universal. No one can comfort you like a mother. It begins at birth with nursing, swaddling, holding, and caressing—the constant assurance we are loved. When we're toddlers, mom is there to kiss away our boo-boos and make it all better. As we grow older, she is there to give us a sympathetic ear; listening to our woes, sometimes dispensing advice but mostly just patiently and tenderly listening.
In the final chapter of Isaiah, Israel is getting ready to return home after years in exile. God as a mother had been with them throughout those seven years, watching over them and preparing them for this day. There must have been some trepidation at what was going to happen when they reached Jerusalem. The people who were returning were more than two generations from the start of the exile. The only knowledge they would have is through stories of parents and grandparents. But God promises them they have nothing to fear. He will be there to comfort them like their own mothers with the same love, care, and compassion.
Nothing has changed since the days of Israel. God today offers us the same love as a mother. When we hurt, he is there to soothe us; when fearful, he gives us strength and always listens to our prayers with a sympathetic ear.
God, our heavenly parent, we are grateful for your love as a mother. Whatever our situation, we know we can find comfort in you. We confess we too frequently take your love for granted; please forgive us. Help us to witness to others of your mighty love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.