What has your mother done to make you feel loved? Such was my recent poll question. The responses, both delightful and sad, suggest a common yearning.
“I can still taste her pear preserves made just for me.” “She still gathers the whole family together for Sunday dinner.” “She never wanted the last serving.”
“She led our girls club, took us camping.” “She read many books to me.” “We visited our extended family often.” “My classmates envied the burgundy velvet jacket she made for me.” “When my own children were born, she came to stay with me.”
“In a thunderstorm, she rocked me.” “During the night, I would call out and she would appear at my bedside.” “She brushed my long hair and made me feel special as her only daughter.” “She listened when I had girl troubles.” “Driving the last mile to school every day, she would pray for us in the car.”
As I expected, the question also uncovered the grief of mother’s passing or the pain of not knowing mother’s love. It is our common yearning to experience love from mother. Whether or not we receive that love, the yearning springs from a deeper well.
In The Unknown God, Alister McGrath writes, “The desire that we experience in the world can be thought of as a real desire for something that lies beyond this world. It is hinted at by our experiences of the world.” That “something” is to be loved perfectly and eternally, something only God can do. He demonstrates love for you by creating you, by revealing Himself to you, and by Christ’s sacrifice for you, so that you can enjoy Him forever.
St. Augustine said, “Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Blaise Pascal observed that humans seek, but don’t find complete happiness. “What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remains the empty trace, which he tries to fill from all his surroundings? The infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable Object, God Himself.”
Does a universe of impersonal matter beget such ethereal longings that it cannot know? Can unknowing atoms randomly order themselves into sentient beings? No, it’s entirely reasonable that God created us to love and be loved by Him.
Your humanity hints at that when you enjoy or yearn for mother’s love. In the midst of a discourse on love, the Bible says, “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). Mom, your love helps me know God better, but the best is yet to come.