Most often when we hear the word furious we think of its meaning as being enraged, angry, or irate. But furious also means passionate, which lends itself to descriptions such as intense, fervent, and heartfelt.
Now during Mother’s Day, I took a little time just to breathe. (I hope you did too!) And while reflecting on Mother’s Day, I was reminded of the mother of all mothers. Not Eve, but Mary, the mother of Jesus. And that led me to thoughts on a mother’s love. So what does a mother’s love and the term furious have to do with each other? Not necessarily what you think!
Yep, our children can make us angry sometimes, but they also bring out some of our best emotions too! So let’s look at Mary, and learn how deep a mother’s love can go.
Although Mary was a human, and infallible as the rest of us, she was also a faith-filled woman who carried out God’s will no matter the cost to herself. Today, let’s give a little thought to what she did and reflect on her motherhood.
When most of us think of Mary, we think of a woman. But when God came to Mary, she was merely a child, most likely in her early teens. Can you see her, a young teenage Jewish girl in a long flowing dress that reached her ankles with even her hair covered by cloth? She had never held a man’s hand, let alone kissed one. And then, one day out of the blue, an angel came to tell her she was going to have a baby. And not just a baby, but the Son of the most high God!
In that moment, at that age, how would you have handled it? I know my immaturity would have come flying out, and like most teenage girls, the drama would have started! But not Mary! In the scriptures, she demonstrates maturity beyond her years. After asking what and how this is going to happen, she simply states:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV)
Mary could not have known all that would unfold, yet she trusted in the Lord. Wow!
Months later, in the middle of the night, in the town of Bethlehem, this child bears a child in a stable filled with animals and smells we don’t even want to imagine –no nurses or doctors attending to her needs, no epidural to ease the pain of childbirth, no comforts of home. And once the process is completed, she lays her child wrapped in some strips of cloth in a manager (a feeding trough) full of straw.
Years would go by, and she would raise Him in the traditions of the Jewish people. Even though Mary had other children later in life, she knew this child was no ordinary child. Where could it all be leading?
Mary’s support of Him was unwavering. She was there when Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). And she would be there through it all. Watching His ministry grow, seeing the crowds that flocked to Him, hearing the things He did as He traveled the countryside.
I imagine Mary had mixed emotions most of the time. Pride for a son that was able to do such great things in the name of God, and fear that all this attention Jesus was drawing might make some people angry. Yet, most likely, down deep in her heart, she knew this was God’s will. But that would never replace the protectiveness she felt as a mother.
Then, on what must have been the most gut-wrenching day of her life, she hears that Jesus has been arrested. How could this be? What could He have possibly done? I can see her frantic to get more information and desperate to know what is happening.
As those last days of Jesus’ life play out, I cannot imagine the pain and anguish she suffered. Here was her child, and she was helpless to help Him! She had held Him close in the stable the night of His birth, and watched Him sleep for hours. She had washed and bandaged the cuts and bruises he received as a boy of eight years old playing outside. She would have rejoiced at His thirteen birthday as per the Jewish custom. And during His early years of life, she would have watched Him turn into a mature young man who any mother would love to have – humble, gracious, generous, and kind.
But now, her child was being paraded in the streets, beaten and bleeding, carrying a cross on which He would be hung. But Mary would not turn away! In scripture, we find her close by as the nails are driven into His hands and feet. The tears would have been impossible to hold back as the cross is resurrected.
She would have been inconsolable after He took His last breath. As His body laid in a tomb, she would have mourned deep and hard, at times pushing away those who wanted to ease her pain.
Then after the third day, the impossible would happen. She would be told He is alive. Her mind would have raced at the thought of seeing Him again. Her arms longing to hug His neck. Could it be true?
And then suddenly, He was there! Standing in front of her –her child lives! What joy must have washed over her, and then amazement at the thought of what was happening. Peace would once again come to Mary’s heart.
Mary is a mother who loved furiously. Her faith in her God is the only explanation of how one woman could bear so much joy and pain in one lifetime. God has indeed created mothers with a capacity to love their children to depths beyond reason. But in order to do so, we must also love our God with all of our heart.
Not only as a mother, but as a woman, can you say to God – I am Your servant, let Your will be done?
And by the way, the inability to bear children does not discount your ability to be both a mother and a servant of God. We ourselves are adopted children of God, and therefore, those who adopt children into their life and love them as if they are their own are equally special to Him.
I know how I feel about my one and only son. I don’t know if I could have done what Mary did, but I am grateful that she allowed the Lord to use her. I do know, however, what it is to love a child furiously, and more importantly, I know that I have a Savior who loves me the same way!
What does Mary’s love of Jesus teach you? And what stories can you share about your own love for your children or that of your mother’s love for you?
Happy Mother’s Day!
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.