Our mothers fill one of the most important roles in the world. They rank higher than presidents or kings of the nations. Many of the greatest men of the world explained that their success in the world was thanks to the influence of their mother. The love of a true mother is stronger than death.
J. Grant Anderson wrote the following about mothers: “A mother’s love is greater than all other earthly elements. She was the first one to feel the pulse of our new life. She was the first one upon whom our infant eyes gazed and her name, ‘Mommy’ was the first word formed on our lips. She was the one who watched over us in the middle of the night while the light of life flickered and her child seemed to sway between the pendulum of life and death. Her love is the binding tie that connects people to each other. Mankind never comes closer to that which is godly than when motherhood rises up with holy, human love. A sister turned away from her unruly brother. A father’s compassion had boundaries and soon he stated: ‘Go, you are bringing shame on my name and my family!’ But, my mother’s prayers followed me through the whole world.”
This godless world turned from a wild, shameful person. He was put in prison and rejected by society and his former comrades. But his mother still visited him. She knelt outside, on the same day when his harsh sentence was decided and prayed as only a mother could pray, that God would somehow pardon her fallen son. She combed his hair, put a rose on his breast, kissed his ashen forehead and finally lay a wreath on his grave. Indeed, she was the first to welcome him into this world and she was the last to leave him in death.
I was blessed to have a true, Christian mother. As a child, I sat on her lap while she read stories to me from her large Bible. She read about Creation, the Great Flood, how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, the story of Daniel in the lion’s den and of Jonah. She did not know about the theories of child development nor of the objections of higher criticism. She believed in her Bible, the virgin birth, and all the rest. Oh, my mother had such a simple, pure faith in her Bible! She planted this belief in my young mind and heart. Thank God, this faith still stands today!
The Bible has become the one book which I’ve carefully and diligently studied for over thirty years. The more I read it and compare it to modern theories, the more my faith, taught by my mother, is solidified. On her deathbed she said: “Please give my son our family Bible as a last symbol of my love.” Amongst the hundreds of valuable books in my library, there is just one which I value above all. It is a gift from my dying mother – her Bible.
My mother taught me this short prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take! Amen.
Now that I am 52 years old, when I retire for the night, I repeat this simple prayer. My mother must have prayed it over a thousand times and I’ve repeated it well over seven thousand times.
Once as a young man, while I sat deep in sin, I came close to death through the heavy hand of suffering. I will never forget how my mother knelt near my bedside with tears in her eyes and said: “Herbert, you may die! Oh, where does your soul stand? You cannot die like this. Give your heart to Jesus and let yourself be saved!” The ice began to melt and my heart began to break. I promised God, that if He spared my life, I would serve Him.
My mother was a woman of prayer. As she worked throughout the day we often heard her singing or praying. I could not shake her influence on my life. It followed me throughout my sinful ways and today they form a leading force in my life.
I still think back to the time when my mother lay on her deathbed. Before she departed, she looked up one last time and said: “I see heaven open before me and the glory of God coming down.” She proclaimed, that she was going “to be with Christ.” Some of her last words were: “Tell my son (at the time I was in the far West), that he must make every effort to remain faithful.” – By God’s grace, I strive to carry out this assignment.