The Loss of a Mother
George Mylne, 1871
Have you lost your mother? Your mother--Oh, what a name it is! It speaks volumes, untold in their realities, engraved on the mind in letters which cannot be effaced! What other tie is like it? You owed your very birth to her — in the mystery of God, you owed her your existence, not only here but in the world to come, seeing that life hereafter is but the consequence of having an immortal soul, originally ushered into this world below. Who can tell how your unformed body was fashioned in her. And as you came forth from her, made of her very substance, a very portion of her flesh and bones — so your nourishment in infancy proceeded from her, as much a portion of her life as you yourself. Say, then, who can describe the wondrous union of her with you, and you with her — your very frames knit together, as it were, in unity?
Your earliest recollections concern your mother — how you were fondled by her, dandled on her knee, and taught to lisp your first utterances. She may have taught you to lisp the name of Jesus, and the sweet lyrics of your first-learned hymn. And as childhood grew, every petty care or smarting pain — drove you to her bosom, there to tell your sorrows and to weep your tears! And as youth advanced — you found in her your ready counselor and warmest friend.
You know the words, "As one whom his mother comforts — so will I comfort you" (Isaiah 66:13). You have never had another such earthly comforter. How soothing were her words! What tender reason in her arguments when counsel was required — some snare to be detected and exposed — and inexperience to be warned to disregard the alluring offer, and temptation to be unmasked!
And say, did manhood or womanhood relax the tie — the sweet maternal bond? You bestowed on her your fondest attentions and care — perhaps it may have been to cheer her widowhood, and comfort her declining years. Was there not exquisite delight in all you did for her, as vainly you attempted to repay the debt you owed her — tender in kind, unbounded in degree? And, now that she is taken from you — you fondly cherish the thoughts of all your sweetest fellowship, and love to retrace how, step by step, you tended her in her failing health. Truly, in life and death, in presence or in retrospect — what can surpass associations with a mother's life — a mother's memory?
And now she is gone — and I hope you are comforted. "No easy thing!" you say. No easy thing, I grant you. Not possible at human hands. But all things are possible with God. He has deigned to use a mother's tenderness to represent His Own tender concern for His redeemed children: "As a mother comforts her child — so will I comfort you." (Isaiah 66:13.) Are these empty words — or a simple verity? Does He not practically say, "As once you nestled in your mother's bosom — so nestle now in Mine!" Shall God invite in vain? Is His bosom opened thus, for nothing? Remember, there is no amount of human tenderness, which exists not a thousandfold in God! How dull and how insensible is man, to turn his back on this the best of friends, and disregard the only solid comforter! My friend, I trust it is not so with you. Depend upon it, if you mourn your dead, as one who has "No Comforter" (Eccles. 4:1), it is because you do not know Him who thus invites you.
If you are joined to Him through saving faith and grace, I well know that you are not left to mourn alone; your God is with you — your Father, Savior, Comforter. And thus you find your sorrow, the occasion of greater intimacy with the Friend who "loves at all times;" with the Brother who is born expressly "for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17). And, as you weep, you are comforted all the while, as those alone can be, who know the Lord; and thus you find that, even in a mother's death — sorrow may be turned to joy, and grace abound in sanctifying consolation.
But if those blessed words sound strange to you, and conscience tells you that you do not know God after this tender fashion, I cannot say "Farewell," without entreating you to lose no time in making the Lord's acquaintance (Job 22:21), not merely for your present sorrow, but for your future safety in the world to come. This trial may be sent for the very purpose of drawing you to God! Do not turn away from Him who is speaking to you through the death of your mother. He says, "Look unto Me, and be saved!" (Isaiah 45:22.) Believe me, there is a purpose, yes, counsel, in your divine chastening. "Hear," then, "The rod, and Him who has appointed it" (Micah 6:9). In looking unto Jesus, you shall find blessing and peace and consolation. In giving attention to God's rod, you will learn to bless the day that ushered in your sorrow, and its remedy.
Mourner, may God have mercy on you, strengthen, teach, and comfort you! May even a mother's loss be more than compensated to you, in having found a Savior and a Comforter in Jesus!