My nephew turned nine this weekend, and his parents hosted the family party Friday night. (The laser tag kid party was Saturday, but I surpassed the age limit.) Since his male cousins were out of town, and several male adults arrived late (grandpas and uncles were golfing in a tournament and working overtime and such), for a while, he was stuck with mostly the women of his family, including three little girls, ages five, four, and six months.
But not to worry, he found plenty to do while he waited for cake and presents. He whipped up a duct tape wallet (his newest hobby), took a practice run on his dirt bike (he races regularly), and played with the baby.
Yup, he loves babies. Making contact with that sweet baby essence seems to turn this nine-year-old boy into a softie.
Babies can’t ask for anything. Someone else must figure out what they need and how often and provide it. Babies rely on that provider without resentment, second-guessing, or complaints. And whoever provides the food, comfort, entertainment for them becomes the center of their world. Being the focus of those innocent eyes is a powerful thing.
Mothers know the pull of those eyes. One little look, a fleeting expression of pain, hunger, or distress registers in the mother’s heart. Then out comes the diaper bag stuffed with every possible accoutrement: diapers, wipes, clean clothes, warmer clothes, toys, teething rings, cereal, bottles, binkies. You name it. What mother doesn’t know her child well enough to pack a bag with everything that child might require at any given moment?
Never having been a mother, I’m always amazed that a woman can pick out her own child’s cry among a roomful of sniffling children. And I believe the bond between nursing mother and child is one of the strongest I’ve seen. Her physical body is altered and becomes attuned to her child. There’s no question of mother ignoring baby’s needs.
Watching a father with a child is also a joy. To see a tall, strong man humble himself enough to handle gently, talk to softly, and care for a tiny baby brings warmth to my heart. In a similar way, when I watched my “all-boy” nephew with his baby cousin, I was reminded of some verses from the Old Testament.
In Isaiah 49, God’s people expressed their fear that He had forgotten them. It was looking to them like God had not taken into account what was happening in their lives. Were they encountering events not foreseen by their heavenly Father? Perhaps He required a reminder that they were waiting around for His attention.
His beautiful reply was, Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they will forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.
Christ’s body, too, was altered in such a way that He will never forget us. Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful picture of your tender care.