The day after my son turned 3, we were driving in the car together listening to music. “Us versus them” by Gungor had just got done playing whenever I hear from the back seat
My son: Daddy, what’s that song about?
Me: It’s about God. (A huge over simplification, I know)
My son: Who is God?
Me: God is the creator of everything around you, and God loves you.
My son: Oh, so God is like a mommy.
Me: Yes, God is like a mommy.
It’s a beautiful moment whenever your children teach you things. Why couldn’t God be like a mommy? Why couldn’t God be a mother? Was he wrong? Was he spot on? Why couldn’t he be right?
For a long time, I wrestled with the idea of God as Father. I’m not alone in this. This idea has been troubling for so many people. Whenever we watch movies or tv shows, who is it that is the source of abuse? Who is the reason why characters’ childhoods are messed up?
More often than not, it’s the father.
The idea of God as a father paired with the violence often attributed to God in scripture has been a sore place for so many people. Including myself. I have met so many survivors of abuse at the hands of their fathers. These are friends of mine. These are even my relatives. There are people with my last name who have been victimized by their fathers.
But God asks Job who gave birth to the snow and hail (Job 38:29)? Isaiah compares God to a mother suckling Israel at his breast (Isaiah 49:15). God is described as the creator of all things. Men don’t give birth, men don’t suckle children at their breasts, men don’t bring life into the world.
How do you describe something that can only be experienced? How do you describe love? Sex? Joy? Depression?
Lets do a little thought experiment.
Think of love.
What came to mind? Was it a person? Was it an experience? Was it a feeling? I can’t say for sure what you thought of but I am confident that it wasn’t a stale, vapid list of words.
So how do you describe God? How do you describe an experience of the Divine? Why can’t we describe God as a mother?
As we continued our conversation, we talked about how God is like a mommy. But we also talked about how God is like a daddy. At first, I wished I had stopped there. It was a beautiful moment and I was worried that I took away from a great moment. However, my son had more wisdom to drop on me.
After talking about how God is like a mommy and how God is like a daddy, my son paused and thought for a moment.
“Oh, so God loves me.”
And isn’t that the point? Isn’t that the point of all the metaphors? To know and experience the fact that the Creator of everything loves us. Loves me. Loves you. Loves everyone regardless of their race, ethnicity or age. God loves us regardless of our sexual orientation or our sexual identity. God loves us.
So I encourage you to learn from my son just as I did. Sit in the knowledge that however you connect to the Divine; however you connect to the Source of all life; however you connect to the Being that both holds us and keeps us; however you connect to that, know that it loves you.
Know that God, our mother, loves us.