It may be the season of epiphanies, but in this season of sleepless nights, as Daniel and I wake to feed a hungry or otherwise disconsolate newborn, I can barely string two coherent thoughts together. (Case in point: I recently found the peanut butter in the cabinet with the frying pans and lost in a game of a memory to a three-year-old.)
But the other night, as I thought about this verse from Isaiah, it made some kind of three-in-the-morning sense:
Can a mother forget her nursing child?Isaiah 49:15
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
I’ve long loved this tender image of the mother-like love of God. But I thought of the love it describes only in terms of volitional love—the love a mother chooses for her child, the love God chooses for his people.
But now, as I find myself overflowing with milk in the wee hours of the morning, it occurs to me: a nursing mother’s love is more than an act of sentimentality. In fact, it’s hardly a choice at all. She has milk to give, milk that must come forth. It’s part of her very nature, and it will pain her not to give what she has.
And so it is with God. Love pours out of him; it is part of his very nature. He must give love.
According to scholars, the Hebrew word for love used in this chapter of Isaiah also means “womb.” God is not distant or aloof; he pulses with love—the kind of mysterious, unbreakable bond that forms between a mother and her child as the child rests beneath her own pulsing heart.
God is committed to you with an irrepressible love—a love that flows out like a life-giving force. He loves you with a womb-love that defies explanation. He is tethered to you, by choice and by nature.
He could no more stop loving you than he could stop being God.
We are never more restricted nor more liberated than when we are in love.C. S. Lewis