The end for this mother was better than even the beginning


“Her children rise up and bless her…”

Proverbs 31:28

Years ago, generic cialis buy viagra in the early part of the 20th Century, medicine there was a wonderful novelist and short story writer named Irene Temple Bailey. Among the many subjects she wrote was a parable concerning a young mother. This parable, which has been cited on the internet, in many church bulletins, different magazines, and books, is the focus of this Mother’s Day article. As I quote, rephrase, and draw from it, several Scriptures have been inserted to give biblical reference and further insight. As you read the revised parable, I pray this will help when doing the suggested Teachable Moment at the end.

There was once a young Christian mother, who like many others before and after, set her foot on God’s sovereign path. As she did, this young mother asked the Lord if the path would be long?” God answered, “Sometimes it is, and often filled with many trials and tribulations. But at its conclusion the end is better than the beginning.”

The young mother was happy in those beginning years and couldn’t believe that anything could be better than the way it was. She played and swam with her children, gathering flowers with them along the way.  As she did, the young mother often cried to herself, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this time.”

But sure enough the night came, and then the storms and the path grew dark. The children shook with fear and the cold, and the mother drew them close to her, and covered them with her coat of prayers.  As they warmed themselves, they said, “Oh, Mother we are not afraid, for you have taught us that God is always near and no harm can really come to us.”

  “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

The young mother said, “This is better than the brightest day, for I have surely taught my children how to pray and trust always in the Lord.” Then, the morning came and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children, “Pray and put your faith in Him and you will get to the top.”

               “For faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

The children climbed, and when they reached the top, they said, “We could not have done it without you, Mother.” And the mother, when she lay down that night looked at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned not only to pray but to have faith during their difficult climb.”

The next day brought strange new skies which darkened the earth and clouds of disappointment took them by surprise. The children began to stumble in the storm, but the mother quickly said, “Look up, lift up your eyes to God who is your Light.” The children looked and saw the glory of God, and it was so bright that they could see their way through the darkness.

               “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness…”

John 1:4-5

That night the mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”  The days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, but as the mother grew older and weaker, her children grew taller and stronger, and continued to walk in the light of God’s Spirit.

 “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Acts 7:55

Finally, the mother’s days on earth grew more difficult and to a close. Her children were always there for her, even to the end.  At last they all came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and a golden gate flung open.  The mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone with God, and one day their children will do the same and follow in their footsteps.”

The children said, “You will always walk with us, mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”  They stood and watched her as she went through them. And they said, “She will always be with us. A mother like ours is more than a memory; she is a living presence.” 1

               “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep  (passed away); so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have  fallen asleep in Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 4:13-14

Teachable Moment

In this Teachable Moment, take a walk with your family one evening after dark. Take a flashlight along with you. If possible let mom lead the way. After you have walked for a while, take turns leading with the flashlight. When you are ready to head for home, make sure each of the children have had a chance to be the leader. Sometime during the walk back, stop and put your hand over the flashlight. Point out to your kids how dark everything looks when the light is covered up. As your walk comes to an end, be sure to hang back a little, so your children can finish the trek home by themselves leading with the light.

Sit down and share with your family the following analogy. The flashlight is like the Spirit of God; He is always on and always with each of you. He will be with you even in the darkest of nights. The family walk was like the life journey each of you will have to complete during your lifetime. The darkness of the evening represents the darkness of this world with all of its temptations, false wisdom, and sin. Without the flashlight (that is, without the Lord), stumbling and losing your way in the world is inevitable. So, don’t cover up the light God has given you through the Spirit, let Him shine.  Praying and believing in God is the best way to keep the Spirit shining and showing you the way. Finally, letting your children lead the way home with the flashlight is likened to the day they will be on their own with the Lord, raising their own children like you did with them.  As Temple Bailey concluded in her parable, the end is even better than the beginning for you, at least from God’s perspective it is.

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

II Corinthians 4:6