The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she became the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:20)
I’m writing this article for the newsletter leading up to Mother’s Day, so I thought it would be appropriate to do it on motherhood.
Having young children in the church seems to run in waves. We went through a dry spell, so it is quite refreshing to have little ones napping in their mother’s arms or navigating their way between the chairs at a high rate of speed after worship again. The Bible speaks of children as a blessing from God and so should we. After all, they are the next generation of the church.
Seeing moms and dads tending to their kids reminds me of Charleen’s and my experience a generation ago, not to mention the experience of our parents before that. My own mom had five boys under the age of ten, and after having children of my own and grandchildren now, I have a new appreciation for the energy and constant attention it takes.
You’ll notice that the text above is taken from the chapter that records the fall of man. It might seem a bit out of place, except that, I believe it helps us understand the challenge of motherhood better. For one thing, parenting takes place in a fallen world with all its attending difficulties. But on the flip side we have the joy of knowing that parenting involves preparing our children for God’s glory.
It appears that Eve, when she gave birth to her first born had high hopes. God had given the promise, couched in his curse on the serpent that her seed would crush the head of the one who had caused such destruction. This man-child would perhaps be the deliverer of whom God had spoken. Can you imagine her devastation when she learned that he was a murderer? That he would take the life of her second born in a fit of jealousy? What had gone wrong? Had she done something wrong?
Paul, in Romans 5, reminds us that, sin came into the world through one man [and woman], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. St. Augustine would later call this “original sin”. We all own it from the moment of birth. Infants too. Children are not born blank slates, completely dependent on their parents and society to form their moral responses. No matter how hard we as parents may try to forestall any contingencies in order to create a utopian life for our children, there will always be way too much that is beyond our control. We live in a fallen world and we are all fallen people.
But all is not lost. The rest of the Bible from Genesis 3 is about redemption. God’s promise about the “seed of the woman” is not annulled with the death of Abel. It just took the sovereign providence of God working through the centuries until, in the fulness of time, the “Seed of the woman” (Christ) would willingly absorb the blows of many Cains; in so doing he planted his heel firmly on the head of the serpent.
What does that mean for moms (and dads) today? Nobody said parenting would be a piece of cake. certainly not if we take it seriously. It means committing ourselves to the task of “teaching them to observe all things that [Christ has commanded us]” as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. A challenge in a fallen world? Yes. A glorious privilege? A double yes.
Pastor Tom Bridgman