It’s Mothers’ Day and I am thinking about my mom today. She has been gone nearly 40 years. She died when I was in my early 20’s, so this annual celebration has long been odd for me as I have had no mother present to celebrate for decades.
Yet, I was thinking this morning of my favorite memory of her and I. It was probably about a year before her death, as she was in the throes of battle with the cancer that would ultimately take her life. We were visiting my alma mater and attending a worship service of my old campus ministry. The campus minister announced that in the afternoon there would be students being baptized. My mom leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Do you think I could be baptized, too?”
I became a follower of Jesus early in my freshman year of college. My parents had raised my brothers and I in the church. We attended regularly and were all confirmed into the church, but it was a religious thing. None of us had a relationship with the Lord, including my parents. The first thing I did after asking Jesus to take control of my life was to write a letter to my parents telling them of my decision, how much I loved them, and how I hoped that they would, too, seek out a relationship with God.
I think, initially, they both thought I had gone off the deep end. My mom actually said one time that she thought I was caught up in a cult that had turned me against her. But I was patient and tried to love her as best as I could. She didn’t like the fact that I rarely came home, that I preferred to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ at school, but I think, deep down, she knew why. She knew I had found something she did not have nor could provide; yet she was resistant to seeking it. She had been religious all of her life. What she was seeing in me was something entirely different. And I have found over many years of ministry that the religious spirit is the most difficult to break. For my mother, it took over 50 years before she allowed God to break through, and I had a front row seat for the final six, and was right beside her in those final moments before her resistance finally died.
A few hours later, I was in the baptistry with her, hearing her confession, plunging her into the waters of baptism, and raising her to new life. Mother and son; now sister and brother. She died less than a year later.
Back then, six years had been a long time to wait, but the Lord had been waiting much longer, over 60 years. He waited more than that for my father to come back to him. And he waited 19 years for me. He is by nature patient in waiting for us because his love for us is so deep. I have been reminded of that recently by these verses: “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4) “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)
This morning, Mothers’ Day, I am so thankful that the Lord patiently waited for my mother to come back to him, and that he waited for me as well. Together, this patience created a precious gift, one I will never forget.
© Jim Musser 2020 All Scripture references from the New International Version, 2011.