Have you ever taken a course on survival training? Or maybe watched one of the Discovery Channel shows about surviving in the wild? They always say that, after any immediate concerns about keeping yourself alive against the elements (e.g. blizzard, storm, icy wind, etc.) or treating life-threatening injuries, the person in a survival situation has to find water. Water is essential. Moisture is evaporated and expended by exertion and what is more exerting than the struggle of life?
But even when one finds water, cleaning it and purifying it is of the utmost importance. Bacteria and particulate matter can make one wretchedly sick in a space of a few hours and drop the odds of survival incredibly. The problem of purifying the found water then becomes paramount. One would then start figuring out what materials he/she has on hand and how much exertion is required in order to choose the purification technique that is best for your situation. Do you have some purification tablets and a canteen? Good, drop ‘em in and drink. Do you have the ability to make fire and a container that won’t burn up? Good, boil the water. Do you have a plastic bag and some hot sunlight? Good, distill water from a tree.
No matter what choice you make, you must make one or suffer the painful and life-threatening consequences of dehydration or infection. You see that the thing which is life-giving can also be life-taking. The thing which can be pure and beautiful to your body and life can also be full of parasites and dirt. And water, which when clean is pure and crystal clear, can also accept into itself all kinds of things which taint the color, taste and health it normally boasts.
All of this brings me to the real topic of this post: motherhood. In its most real form, it is the most pure, undefiled and beautiful thing which we can witness with open eyes on a day to day basis. But, when bent and infected by sin, it can be an instrument of horrible betrayal.
Sure, there are lots of other examples of relationships which bear true, selfless fruit. But what normal relationship between two human beings produces such selflessness as that of a mother and a child? Husband and wife? Sure, but how often is it done right? Father and child? Maybe, but how often is the father what he should be? Siblings? I guess so, but how often is selflessness the motivating factor in their actions? We can find examples of delightful love in any number of different personal relationship combinations, but there’s something different and unforced about a mother’s love for her child.
I remember very clearly the look on my wife’s face when she first held our two children. In both cases, all I can remember – even shining through my own gratitude and pride in my new little ones – was the glory of motherhood glowing from the face of my wife as she clutched our babies in her arms for the first time. Her tears, her smile, her words and her tender caressesweren’t the real source of the glory though. There was something deep inside of her which has, in all of her dealings with our kids to this day, not diminished or faded. It shone from her soul in the powerful, undiluted way which God always intended for us to share with everyone. It was (and is) a message which said quite clearly that it is pure love which reflects God’s image most clearly. Through my wife love was bared for a little while in this fallen, dark world and it revealed something which I believe is alive, though dormant, in all of us: a piece of mankind which is alien to this world and which destroys all of the pain and rage cultivated by Satan in his earthly domain.
Consequently it makes sense that one of the key strategies that Satan would employ in his efforts to devalue human life and estrange us from God is to shove a wedge between a mother and her child. Satan’s strategy drives the alienation of mother and daughter, creates enmity between mother and son, and causes the breakup of families through divorce or dispute. It’s also why he attacks the feminine ideal of Proverbs 31 and why he insidiously redefines beauty down to the basest physicality. Worst of all, it is why Satan delights in the murder of babies in the womb … by their own mothers.
To Satan, that undiminished love of motherhood is too great a replication of God’s own love for us. And just as he could not abide the continuation of Jesus’ campaign of love on the earth(touching the untouchable, conversing with the invisible, giving meaning and direction to the lost), seeking to hang Him on a tree, he simply CANNOT allow that motherly glory into the darkness he has in this world. And so, before they even draw a breath, he targets them for elimination. Each baby born into this dark world reverberates with both the unspoiled beauty of humankind as God intended – innocent and perfect – and with the loving smile and embrace of pure, deep, untainted motherly love.
Is it any wonder then that there is such a malevolent campaign to continue the slaughter of the unborn? The people who have purposefully turned their hearts and minds from God do not even realize that they are merely the mouthpieces and instruments of hell as they actively destroy life in its most innocent form. By the bloodthirsty zealots of infanticide, babies are treated as nothing more than blobs of tissue and mothers who do end up baring their children become derided as tools of oppression. Meanwhile the entire conflagration is danced around gleefully by the devil and his angels.
Oh! If only those poor souls would use their eyes and see … REALLY SEE … the glory of motherhood for what it is: a rift in the dense fabric of sin! For a moment, heaven is revealed on earth … and the beauty of the love which fills that heaven is magnificent. To the believer it is nothing less than a priceless buttress of hope. But to the one who rails against God, what is there to celebrate in new life?
Going back to the talk at the beginning of this post, life is often allegorized through water (think of life-giving streams, fountains, rains, or waters), but in this fallen world it is not all safe. No one should walk up to the Mississippi River as it flows through St. Louis and drink directly from it. Waterborne pathogens, bacteria, chemicals and amoeba can invade one’s body in that way and leave a person sick or dying in a matter of hours. But water is necessary, so we must preserve our lives by embracing it in its purest and most natural forms.
Similarly, how can we possibly fight the taint of motherhood without embracing the beauty of it in its purest and most natural forms? We must be purposeful about seeing the love in the eyes of a mother looking down with pride on her son as he lifts his latest poorly-drawn picture to her. We must notice the genuine concern etched over every millimeter of her face as she carefully removes splinters from her small daughter’s hands. Because, if we are watchful and focused, we will be bolstered in our faith as we see the most pure form of love preserved from Eden: the love of a mother for her child. Imperfect as it is, it is the most beautiful and pure recollection of God’s love visible today. And thank God for it!