This is the mother I have always wanted to be. A warrior mother, fiercely protective, defender, and advocate who allows no one to hurt my children without consequence. But I am so not that mother and I’m left feeling as if I’ve failed my children and myself – disappointed that I am not the mother I so much want to be.
There are a number of reasons why I am not that Mom. First and foremost, there are simply battles that you cannot fight for your children. Second, and I never imagined that I would be in a position to say this, but I am constrained by the law. Regardless of the fact that the justice system failed to uphold the law in our case, I am ironically bound by it. And finally, and most importantly, God would not be pleased if I were to become the warrior mother I wish I could be.
Exodus 14:14, tells me, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” But, in my humanness I find myself frustrated by this verse instead of comforted. While I know from an intellectual standpoint that I can indeed trust that God will fight for me, I am often impatient to see God’s victory on my behalf. On the other hand, the image of our powerful God is watered down when we see His words displayed amid beautiful and serene backdrops like the following images portray.
Those images are beautiful, touchy, feely images I find comforting in times that I really don’t need God to be my avenging warrior or to fight a major battle for me. But when I desperately need my warrior God, they leave me feeling as if He might not be any more up to the battle than I am. The images are just too cheerful or peaceful and they affect my impression of God and His power.
I need to see this verse portrayed with the image of the ferocious Lion of Judah scripture assures me God is. I don’t know about you but this scripture just screams to be depicted with a roaring lion mid-leap as he defends his pride. These pictures fill me with confidence that my God is able.
Why do we depict the verses that describe God as our powerful defender, or the one who has sovereign control over nature and every created being with calm and soothing images? Is it because we don’t want to acknowledge that there may come a time in our lives that we might be in real need of our all-powerful God? Are we just trying to cling to the naive idea that our world, our homes, and families are safe? Is it because we want to characterize God as a God of love and ignore or soften the truth that God is a God of justice as well – to make Him more palatable to the lost and less fearsome to ourselves when we rebelliously disobey His commands that we cannot claim ignorance of?
I’m not quite sure why we are inclined to portray every biblical passage in a peaceful setting, but I think we are doing both ourselves and God a disservice. The images we see combined with God’s word merge in our minds causing us to form inaccurate ideas about God’s true character. They cause us to esteem Him as less than completely capable and to approach Him with a far lower regard than He is entitled to. As if he is a common man instead of the King of kings. How insulting to Him! Not only that, but we impede our own spiritual maturity because it is impossible to fully trust and depend on God if we see Him as little more than a human king on a heavenly throne. God’s word tells us in no uncertain terms that he is far more than that, far more capable, far more powerful, far more just. He’s far more everything and I, personally need images that more accurately reflect God’s true nature than ones that make Him appear to be anything less than His Word tells us He is.
So bring on the pictures of our avenging King alongside our gentle shepherd. I need to associate my God with both aspects of His character because I need to be completely confident that He is both in order to trust and depend upon Him alone. Then I won’t need to be the warrior mother. I won’t feel either impotent or as if I am failing because I will be able to be still, to be at peace (not void of emotion but able to find that center of peace in spite of my emotions) in difficult circumstances, unassailed by doubts that my God both can and will fight for me. I will be confident and assured of both the power and the presence of the God who fights my battles for me.