“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them.”
Our God is a consuming fire, a warrior God who brings justice to the earth. The cup of his wrath is kindled against all the godlessness of the earth. What a great mother’s day sermon! But seriously, what does the wrath of God have to do with being a mother?
Our sermon this week brings us some deep truths, even if you aren’t a mother, but especially if you are. What do you do when your children are threatened? You get angry! Wrath is a derivative of your deep love for your child, and it overflows when your children are broken, either by themselves or others. Wrath is perhaps more essential to raising children than anything else we can imagine because it means that God is in the ring with us. Our God is angry with the twisted-ness of this world, and He’s cosmically more angry with it than you and I could ever be. As Ted said Sunday morning, when your kids are in trouble, you are never the first one the to the fight. God is always on the move. He is living and active. His love-inspired anger is on your child’s side, and it never sleeps.
Imagine what life as a Christian would be like if our God was not a wrathful God. In a group of letters to his friend named Malcolm, C.S. Lewis offers a brilliant perspective on the wrath of God. Malcolm proposes to Lewis that God, rather than being a personally angry God, is more like an electric current, who shocks people when they cross his standard of justice. But Lewis responds,
“My dear Malcolm: What do you suppose you have gained by substituting the image of a live wire for that of angered majesty? You have shut us up all in despair, for the angry can forgive, but electricity can’t… Turn God’s wrath into mere enlightened disapproval and you turn his love into mere humanitarianism. The ‘consuming fire’ and the ‘perfect beauty’ both vanish. We have, instead, a judicious headmistress or a conscientious magistrate. It comes of being high-minded… Liberalizing and civilizing analogies can only lead us astray.”
You see, an angry God means that we also have a deeply loving God. His anger is not spinning wildly out of control, going this way and that, destroying everything in its path. It is exact, coming into the blackness of this world with mysterious power, excising sin from us and from creation with precision. God’s anger reminds us that He is also a loving God, for the two are inseparable. In fact, his wrath and love are perfect, whereas mothering on earth is but a shadow of the nurture, love, care, and defense that we get from our earthly mothers. Although God reveals himself as a Father, the Bible uses the imagery of a mother to describe the nurturing care of God. What we need more than anything else is to climb up into the motherly arms of our God and rest in the shadow of his wings. His is our refuge. Our defense. In the bosom of God is complete security. In Him we find exactly what our mothers remind us that we need: a tender, yet powerful advocate. No, our God is no electrical current, He is a person, overflowing with passionate grace and mercy. May we all find rest for our souls in our Friend, Lover, Counselor, and “Mother,” the Lord God Almighty.