Mom: A Glimpse of Things To Come

As our family was heading out to eat for mother’s day yesterday, one of my children remarked that they wished there was such thing a “Child’s Day.” My wife wisely remarked by saying there is, in fact, every other day is child’s day. How true! It got me thinking that because the demands upon a mother are constant they often have little time to step back and reflect on how the Lord may ultimately use their labors. How will the future, yet unseen, unfold? How will those little eyes one day look upon the world? How will those little hands one day engage the world?

In 1835, Alexis De Tocqueville remarked that, “The entire man is, so to speak, to be seen in the cradle of the child.”[1] Although a bit of an overstatement, there is still a ring of truth to this. It is impossible to tell how the early forms of personality in a little child will be shaped by God in years to come. But looking back, sometimes we can see amazing signposts pointing to what was to come.

J. Gresham Machen was used of God to preserve the truth of the gospel in the church during a time a significant decline. The cause of truth led him to separate from the increasingly liberal Princeton Seminary where he had taught New Testament from 1906-1929, in order to found Westminster Theological Seminary in 1929. Then six months before his death, he was a leader in the founding of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church after separating from the liberal PCUSA.  He was a strong voice for the truth of the Christian gospel and many people rallied to his cry for integrity and faithfulness among Christian ministers.

J. Gresham Machen grew up to be a man who led a reorganized group of men training for ministry into the fray to proclaim and defend the Christian faith. Later on the nickname “Machen’s Warrior Children” would be attached to them. Before the end of his life, he would serve under a new denominational banner that would be faithful to the teachings of Christ and his Word. In light of this, it is meaningful to look back on a letter that 5 year old Gresham wrote to his aunt.

From the Westminster Theological Seminary website:

Grace Mullen, archivist and assistant librarian at Montgomery Library, recently brought to light the first letter of J. Gresham Machen, founding faculty member of Westminster Theological Seminary.   As an adult, he turned the tides of conservative Christianity.  However, when only 5 years old (in 1886), he wrote a letter to his aunt (below) and drew a picture for his mother.

What will your child grow up to be?  This weekend we honor the faithful mothers in our lives for their love, courage, and care for their children.  And who knows, the children they are raising now may become great men and women for the cause of Christ.  For now they are writing letters to their aunts, and drawing pictures of flowers for their mothers.


[1] Democracy In America, p. 39.

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