AUGUSTA, Ga. (BP) — There is an old hymn by Frederick William Faber written in memory of Catholic martyrs during the time of King Henry VIII. Somehow this hymn made its way into the Baptist Hymnal due to its militant call to remain vigilant in spiritual battle and steadfast in the defense of truth.
Though it has been many years since I have sung this hymn, it is something I clearly recall singing in my childhood. Maybe you can recall the melody as you read these words:
Faith of our fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
While this hymn is an appeal for faith and faithfulness to God, it would do well for us not only to affirm the faith of our fathers, but also to honor and celebrate the faith of our mothers.
This Mother’s Day weekend, I have cause to celebrate the gift and grace of godly mothers. I was blessed to have a godly, Christian mother who filled our home with faith, hope and love. I rejoice to share my life with a godly wife and mother whose faith, perseverance and sacrifice are mirrored in our children’s lives. And together we have the joy of seeing our daughter and daughter-in-law shepherding our grandchildren toward the knowledge of God and the Gospel of Christ in their own families.
The Scriptures are filled with the courageous examples of women of faith who trusted God and followed the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jochebed, the mother of Moses, hid him after his birth and placed him in an ark among the reeds of the Nile. God honored her faith by allowing Pharaoh’s daughter to find Moses and by giving Jochebed the privilege of nursing, nurturing and sowing seeds of faith into this baby boy. Years later, Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:24b-26 ESV). Who helped shaped Moses’ faith and courage? His mother.
Hannah knew the pain and alienation of infertility. She had an open heart, but empty arms — similar to my own family’s story that led us to adoption. In God’s time and through His grace, Samuel was born to Hannah, and by faith, she offered him back to the Lord. God raised Samuel up as a mighty prophet — a man who is often seen responding to the voice of God. From whom do I believe Samuel first learned to listen to God? His mother.
Ruth demonstrated remarkable faith in the book that bears her name. She was a Gentile outcast and, yet, she experienced God’s grace through a kinsman-redeemer. And God used Ruth to fulfill His prophetic plan: “Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king … [and] Mary, of whom Jesus was born” (Matthew 1:5-6, 16 ESV). Who in Obed’s life said the words that will forever be etched in Scripture, “… and your God shall be my God”? His mother.
Think of Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus — a woman of extreme faith. At the risk of public scorn and shame, she surrendered her body to God’s providential purpose in bearing the Savior of the world. Even Joseph, her betrothed husband, doubted her. Yet Mary endured the suspicion of immoral action, the tension of Jesus’ public rejection, and faced the horror of His sacrifice, following her Son to the foot of the cross. Who was rewarded for her faith at the resurrection of Jesus? His mother.
And what about Eunice and Lois? The apostle Paul named these remarkable women in connection with Timothy, Paul’s protégé in ministry and partner in church planting. Who were Eunice and Lois, and who taught young Timmy from childhood “the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ”? (2 Timothy 3:15). His mother and grandmother.
We do well to remember the faith of our mothers!
May I suggest this: Take time to give thanks for a mother’s faith. Call, write, tell her of your gratitude, not just for all she’s done, but also for her faith. Fan the flames of her faith!
Encourage a mother who is in the battle seeking to live out her faith in these difficult days. Pray for her. Commend her. Offer to help her in some practical way.
Mother’s Day 2004 was the last occasion I had to tell my mom of my gratitude for her faith and faithfulness to God before her passing. This weekend as I think of her, I encourage you to remember and rejoice in the gift of a godly mother.
Faith of our [mothers], holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!