One year while driving through the mountains in Tennessee, I saw a bunch of cars pulled over on the side the road. Where were all the passengers? Standing around the base of a tree several hundred yards away. What was in the tree? A cute little bear cub nestled in a crook near the top. Where was I? Videoing the whole thing from the safety of my car. After all, someone would need to get footage for the news.
I’m no park ranger, but I’ve watched enough Animal Planet to know that wherever you find a bear cub, Mama Bear can’t be far behind. And believe me, you do not want to get caught between the two. Why? Because Mama Bear will tear you to shreds. That’s just how Mama Bears roll. Nobody gets between them and their cubs.
I know how this works. I’m married.
After nine years of marriage, I thought I knew everything there was to know about my wife. Then we had our first baby, and I got to see Christy in a whole new light. I got to see her as a mom. This was a total game changer.
I’ve been amazed at both the depths of her tenderness towards our girls, and her Mama Bear fierceness when she senses a threat. When my daughters get sick, she turns into Florence Nightengale. When they’re threatened, she turns into the Incredible Hulk. It’s both heart-warming and frightening.
It’s also a lot like God. We talk a lot about God being a Father, which is how the Bible often describes Him, but there’s also a Mama Bear side to God that I’ve been able to understand better by watching the moms in my life protect their kids.
A friend of God named Hosea once described God as a raging mother bear robbed of her cubs. His people had turned away from Him and were chasing things that would inevitably lead to their destruction.
So, how did God react? It was go time. The gloves were off. Nothing would stop Him from bringing His lost cubs back home, and Heaven help anyone or anything who tried to stand in the way.
There are times when I turn my back on God and try to do life on my own. Yes, God gently invites me to return to His loving arms. But sometimes He growls too. Sometimes He shreds my best laid plans and all the things I think will satisfy my heart without Him. Sometimes He thwarts me. Sometimes He stops me. Sometimes He makes life downright hard. Why? Because that how Mama Bears roll.
Their fierce love will shred anything that stands between them and their cubs.
This Mother’s Day I’m not just going to think about God’s tender and nurturing side that is reflected in the gentleness of so many great moms in my life. I’m also going to think about the savage protectiveness of the Mama Bear God, and how thankful I am for His unstoppable love.