When he learned that his mother was ill, President William McKinley had a telegraph installed between Washington and the town where she lived so that he could keep in close contact with her. When he heard that she was dying, he sent the message, “Tell Mother I’ll be there.” Charles M. Fillmore, a hymn writer, was so impressed by reading the story that he wrote the following words.
When I was but a little child how well I recollect, How I would grieve my mother with my folly and neglect; And now that she has gone to Heav’n I miss her tender care: O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!
When I became a prodigal, and left the old rooftree, She almost broke her loving heart in mourning after me; And day and night she prayed to God to keep me in His care: O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!
One day a message came to me, it bade me quickly come, If I would see my mother ere the Savior took her home; I promised her, before she died, for Heaven to prepare: O Savior, tell my mother, I’ll be there!
Tell mother I’ll be there, in answer to her prayer; This message, blessèd Savior, to her bear! Tell mother I’ll be there, Heav’n’s joys with her to share; Yes, tell my darling mother I’ll be there.
Fillmore’s words became a song that was very useful in touching the hearts of people in America and Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. Charles Alexander, gospel singer who traveled with evangelist R.A. Torrey, said, “I have seen as many as a hundred or a hundred and fifty men at a single meeting rise and confess Christ during the singing of that hymn before the sermon began. It reaches all classes, because everyone has a mother.”
Now a century later, the song is seldom sung. In 1968, Phillip Morris tobacco came out with the slogan, ‘You’ve come a long way, baby’ in promoting a slim cigarette that was to have special appeal to women. Instead of seeing women in a role of stability and virtue, the culture viewed them as part of the change from the old Judeo-Christian ethos to a humanistic/evolutionary world view. For the advertisers, the woman of Norman Rockwell’s Post cover in 1959 who was taking her children to church on Easter Sunday while her pajama-clad husband slunk in his chair smoking behind his newspaper, would in a decade be doing the smoking.
Motherhood in a large measure lost its saintliness and then lost its respect. The feminist movement destroyed the pedestal on which mothers stood and plunged them into the maelstrom of equal rights and postmodernism. Multiplied millions of abortions later and we have a much different view of motherhood than that which was held in the past.
Speaking of those unborn children, in my imagination I see them in Heaven. A host of them. They are never forgotten by our Lord. Jesus spoke up for each of them when, “Of these little ones” He said, “For I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:10).
These little ones obviously have a special place in the heart of God. So Jesus warned against offending them. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).
What if these little ones in heaven asked the Lord to send a message to earth? Who would they want the message to reach? I suggest that they would ask the Lord to speak to their mothers. What would they say? Imagine a million-voice choir from heaven using the tune of the Fillmore hymn to make their request: “Tell Mother I am Here.”
When I was in my mother’s womb, too young to recollect,
It seems that something happened that was worse than just neglect;
But now I’m up in Heaven where my heart is filled with cheer:
Oh Jesus, tell my Mom to meet me here!
She may have been a prodigal when me she did conceive;
But abortion gave the promise of her burden to relieve
Now day and night her heavy heart does cause her eyes to tear,
Oh, Jesus, tell my Mom to meet me here.
For God so loved He sent You to the cross to die for sin;
So send someone to tell her that your grace will take her in;
If she’ll confess and trust you then of hell she need not fear,
Oh, Jesus tell my Mom to meet me here.
Tell mother I am here, in Heaven, bright and clear;
This message, Lord, please whisper in her ear!
Tell mother I am here, and wish to have her near;
Oh Jesus, tell my Mom to meet me here!
But what about the fathers? For every little one conceived there is a father. Too often he exercises what could be called his ‘male privilege.’ He can swoop into the girl’s life like a knight in shining armor, and then leave her when he has attained his conquest. If he has any sense of responsibility it may be to offer to pay for the abortion, adding pressure to the frightened woman. Far too often he abandons her to her own future, and has little or nothing to do with the child that comes. Then he is off to another escapade.
Why does the male have little or no stigma attached to the abortion? Unless he is honorable enough to own the child and help the girl, unless the girl’s father finds out and there is a shot-gun wedding, he too often merely disappears. That is the male privilege that seems to be a major part of our cultural landscape.
Yet the truth of conception and life and persons is that both a mother and a father are involved. Perhaps Heaven’s Choir of Tiny Angels has a chorus for the dads:
Tell father I am here, in Heaven, bright and clear;
This message, Lord, please whisper in his ear!
Tell father I am here, and wish to have him near;
Oh Jesus, tell my Dad to meet me here!
But there is another side to this story. Recent demonstrations in Washington, DC have shown a dramatic difference in the view of women in our present world. One is the view that promotes abortion. The other is the view that upholds the Biblical view of parenthood and children. It was encouraging to see the host of people on the side of life, and a bonus that the Vice President of the United States spoke up so clearly for the Biblical position.
Part of that position is to pray for those on the other side. That would be an echo of the song of Heaven’s Choir of Tiny Voices. We who value life must value the eternal destinies of those who have tragically ended the lives of little ones. We can all pray.