At the advice of his co-workers, my twenty-one year old dad made his way into Hamm’s North Lawrence Rock Quarry outside Lawrence, Kansas to see the attractive scale master working inside. He didn’t know it yet, but God’s steadfast love was at work behind the scenes. That attractive scale master spoke of Jesus and of his need to know him. They dated for a summer, but my dad began to grow weary of her religious zeal and was determined to break things off.
Before doing so, he accompanied her to the Billy Graham Mid-America Crusade in Kansas City where conviction gripped his heart. He repented of his sins that night, asking Jesus to save him. He left the Royals stadium a changed man. God’s steadfast love was again at work. Though neither he nor his date knew it yet, God had set his love on them both–a love that he intended to stretch beyond their union and onto their children and even to their children’s children.
Throughout Psalm 103, it is this steadfast love of the Lord–his loyal, covenant-keeping love–that is on display (vv 4, 8, 11, 17). This love forms the foundation for how God relates to his people. It moves him to bestow many blessings on them (1-5). It sets the oppressed free (6-7). It compels God to reveal himself to his people (7). It extends mercy and forgiveness to the sinner (8-12). It stirs compassion in God’s heart so that he looks on his people as dear, frail children, understanding their weaknesses and pitying them for the brevity of their lives (13-16). And if all those blessings weren’t enough, the Psalm reminds us that this steadfast love is forever! It is unimpeded by death, extending down to generation after generation of children (17,18).
It is this steadfast love of the Lord that is both a mother’s hope and legacy.
When my parents pledged their “I do’s” fourteen months after meeting at the rock quarry, they weren’t thinking about the four children in their future or about the twelve grandchildren they’d live to know and love, but God already had each of them in mind (Psalm 139:15-18).
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments (17,18).
Psalm 103 reveals that it is God’s heart to extend his salvation to the offspring of his people. Knowing God’s heart fills my mommy heart with hope and confidence for my children. Surely the God who has been merciful and gracious to me will also be so to my children. So I pray with the richness of hope and confidence in God’s character for my children to also know the steadfast love of the Lord.
But not only is God’s steadfast love a mother’s hope for our children in life, it is also a mother’s legacy in death. Psalm 103 contrasts the eternal quality of the Lord’s steadfast love with the brevity of human life (15-18).
Though we will wither and die like wildflowers exposed to the sun and wind, the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. God set his love upon us before the dawn of time, (Eph 1:4) and that loyal love extends beyond the grave to encompass even our children’s children.
When the world holds no memory of us, and when our descendents can no longer recall even our names, God remembers and he never forgets to show mercy and compassion, extending his love to our children and even our grandchildren after us.
If not for the steadfast love of the Lord, what hope does a mother have? What legacy can we pass onto our grandchildren and great-grandchildren? What good can we do them beyond the grave?
Motherhood is a sacred duty. Beyond the nurturing of our children’s bodies and minds, we are tasked with the nurturing of their souls. But we are not left alone in this task. Fortified by our confident hope in the steadfast love of the Lord and knowing it is the only lasting legacy we leave behind, we speak God’s wondrous deeds to them (Psalm 145:4), inviting them into the steadfast, eternal love of the Lord.
Happy Mother’s Day!