Surrounded in the Womb

Surrounded in the Womb

Surrounded in the Womb.

“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate ouside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord. You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place… carefully, skillfully, shaping me from nothing to something. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance. You saw who you created me to be before I became an embryo! (Psalm 139:13-16, a psalm of David; TPT). 

WOMB = the physical organ of the woman that is constructed of muscles and ligaments and blood vessels that encircle the fetus, making a safe place for the unborn baby to grow and develop within the pregnant mother; a protected shelter that completely surrounds the growing child in the womb; a quiet and peaceful refuge, a nourishing sanctuary, and a life-giving haven for the developing unborn baby; the protective barrier that guards the growing fetus from outside danger.

Creator God designed a safe place within each woman’s body to offer safe harbor to a growing baby when the woman is pregnant. This womb is of course necessary for a fetus to bond with its mother, to develop in peace, to be enveloped in loving nourishment, to grow in the security and trust needed to develop in a healthy way. This secure shelter within the pregnant woman prepares the baby to grow to the point where it will survive outside the womb. In the womb, the unborn baby is literally surrounded by a divinely designed system to protect and feed and cherish the child within her. The woman’s womb is the sanctuary in which the strongest human bond of love is established, the bond between mother and child.

Womb is one of the root words for mercy in the Hebrew Bible. The word “rachem” is translated in Scripture as mercy, compassion, and womb. In the Hebrew mind, the womb is much more than the sacred place in a woman that enables the unborn baby to safely develop till birth. Womb also became a metaphor for mercy because of its linguistic roots. The Hebrew word rachem is intended to mean mercy-womb. God formed each of us with rachem when we were mere unborns, and we were conceived and nourished within His rachem, the mother’s mercy-womb. The baby within the woman is the ideal time to extend God’s compassion to that human being inside of her. The developing baby utterly depends on a mercy-womb. And God wants Himself to be experienced as our womb-sanctuary, our safe place in Him, our refuge and shelter. God Himself yearns to be experienced as a womb of mercy for each of us, a refuge and shelter and safe haven. The purpose of our lives is to live in God’s rachem, God’s womb of love.

The Lord’s love is compared to both a father and a mother in the second Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32: 18, “You neglected the Rock who had fathered you, you forgot the God who had given you birth.” God’s parental love and their rejection of that love highlights just how thoughtless the sins of Israel truly were. This verse continues a thread through Scripture, that the Father has a mother’s love, that the Father has a maternal side to His love. Since the Hebrew word for mercy and compassion comes from the root word for “womb,” it is easy to believe that there is something motherly about the Father’s care and compassion for each of us. God’s compassion is the same as that of a mother who loves the child she has carried and borne. Isaiah says this in 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” And also in Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Even Jesus compares Himself to a mother hen in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” God is referred to as Father, but He often displays the heart of a mother.

We are commanded in Scripture to be merciful as the Lord is merciful. So it seems vital for each of us to show mercy to others in the spirit of rachem, to provide through our love-in-action a mercy-womb…  a safe place for the person to be fed and strengthened and cherished. Becoming a mercy-womb for others means that we provide a safe place through our love for a person to grow and be nurtured. We are each to become a shelter and refuge for others, a womb of mercy, just like our Lord.

[Many authors have contributed ideas that have helped in this article, including Sheridan Larson, Audrey Frank, Keren Pryor, Cindy Lou Elliott, and the Jerusalem Prayer Team. Thanks to one and all.]