Perhaps in no department of Christian exertion are influences of a pressing kind more numerous than in that which you, as mothers, occupy. But, blessed by God, there is an exhaustless fund of all you need for your encouragement and support.
Permit me to direct your attention, first of all, to the encouraging fact, that God is always willing to grant you the strength and wisdom you need for the successful discharge of your important duties. On the throne of grace He ever sits, ready to dispense blessings, countless and rich, to all who ask. Never is His ear turned away from the cry of the needy suppliant. What an inexhaustible fund of encouragement does this truth present! At what time your heart is overwhelmed, look to the Rock that is higher than you (Psa. 61:2). In the confidence of filial love, cast your burden upon the Lord, assured that He will sustain you. He cannot disappoint the expectations that His own Word teaches you to cherish. He will be your Instructor, your Counselor, your Guide, your Comforter, your Refuge, your Fortress, your Sun, and your Shield.
Do you feel that you lack strength? Go to God. He is the Almighty One in whom all strength dwells. Do you feel that you lack wisdom? Go to God. He is “the only wise God” (1 Tim. 1:17); and of His wisdom, He “giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not” (Jas. 1:5). Do you feel that you lack patience? Go to God. He is “the God of patience” (Rom. 15:5). Do you feel that you are in danger of fainting by the way? Go to God. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength” (Isa. 40:29). In short, do you feel bowed down under a sense of insufficiency and unworthiness? Go to God. Your sufficiency is of Him (2 Cor. 9:8). In all generations, He has been the dwelling place of His people, a refuge in the day of distress, a stay and support in the time of trouble.
Listen to the sweet strains of the sweet singer of Israel, who had often tried God’s faithfulness to His promises: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psa. 34:3-8).
You may derive much encouragement from the fact that thousands of Christian mothers have tried the faithfulness of God to His promise and have had the happiness of witnessing the success of their labors in the conversion of their offspring. The history of the church of God is full of instances in point. Let us look at one or two.
The case of Augustine is a striking one. He was one of the brightest ornaments of Christianity in the latter part of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. But up to his twenty-eighth year, he lived in sin. From his remarkable Confessions, written by him after his conversion, we learn that he broke loose from every restraint and gave himself up “to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:19). He had, however, a pious mother; and amidst all his wandering, her tears and prayers came up for a memorial before God. At length, her cry was heard and the answer came. From her son’s own lips, she one day received the glad tidings of his conversion to God; and the voice of lamentation was changed into the song of praise. And the son, for whom she had shed so many tears and breathed so many prayers, lived to be the admiration of his age and the means of the conversion of thousands of his fellowmen.
That eminent servant of Christ, John Newton, was the son of a praying mother! Even at the worst period of his life, profane and dissolute as he was, the influence of the pious counsels that he received in childhood was never obliterated. He has himself left it on record that in the midst of the most daring wickedness, the remembrance of his mother’s prayers haunted him continually. At times, these impressions were so vivid that “he could almost feel his mother’s soft hand resting on his head, as when she used to kneel beside him in early boyhood and plead for God’s blessing on his soul.” There is no reason to doubt that these impressions, received in childhood and retaining their hold of the spirit in [later] life, were among the principal means by which he was arrested in his career of sin and made a zealous and successful propagator of the Gospel that he had so long despised….
Christian mothers! Be of good courage! You are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses – witnesses to the faithfulness of God’s promise, witnesses to the power of believing prayer, witnesses to the efficacy of sound religious instruction. Go forward in your work with holy confidence. Great and many, indeed, are your difficulties, but greater is He that is for you than all that can be against you! “Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isa. 26:4). In due time you shall reap if you faint not (Gal. 6:9). May the Lord grant you grace to be faithful, and may you at last have the unspeakable happiness of entering, along with all who have been committed to your care, into the heavenly holy place, there to celebrate forever the praise of redeeming love and to serve God day and night without ceasing.
– From Three Lectures to Christian Mothers.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon