5 hugs a day
During this social distancing period, what have you been denied that really is special in your everyday life? Maybe you’ve run out of your favorite ice cream, possibly the lack of sporting events, not getting to go to church, seeing your friends or family members. Quite frankly, one of mine is not being able to give and receive hugs from our children and grandchildren. Has anyone ever denied you of something for whatever reason? Amazingly, that one thing becomes your focus. You must have it!! Even if you hadn’t wanted it before.
Someone told me a few years back that ‘it takes five hugs a day just to stay even’. I tend to agree. Our hug-o-meter needs recharging every day. And you know people in your life that are incredible huggers. Our granddaughters are the best! And there are certain male and female friends that can ‘bring it’. When you’ve been hugged by them, it lingers, and you know you have really been hugged. You get a feeling that they really meant it.
An act of love
There are bumper stickers that you see from time to time. Have you hugged your teacher today, have you hugged your dog today, have you hugged your kids today, have you hugged your spouse today, have you hugged your psychiatrist today? Everybody wants a hug, and quite frankly, needs it. Why you ask. Isn’t it a way of giving yourself to another in a way that says ‘I care’. It may be about joy, reunion, sympathy, loss, whatever. Hugs seem to work when you can’t seem to find words to express. It is a physical act of love.
Many people walk through life feeling inferior, dirty, unworthy—a hug says to them ‘you are not these things’. I was recently at a family conference in Peoria, and some of us were in the dining room of the church. I saw across the room one of the lady speakers who had just finished a riveting session embracing a woman who was weeping uncontrollably. The lady was trying to hold her up and at the same time praying and speaking into her life. It went on for several minutes. The Lord encouraged me to join them. I reached around both of them and started praying for her, not knowing her issue. I just knew it must be severe.
Later, the speaker thanked me and shared that her story had caused this woman to reach out to her. She said her husband had been abusing her, and this week he had walked out on her, leaving her to care for six children with no means of income. I can’t imagine her pain, but I could see it and feel it when we were praying for her.
The Great Shephard
Jesus is the Great Shepherd. Isaiah speaks of this. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (vs. 40.11 NIV). He has compassion for all. Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal father. “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Lk. 15.20 ESV). Isn’t that simply a picture of our Heavenly Father?
During this season of social distancing, you may not be getting all the physical hugs you want or need, but take some daily time to reflect on just how much you are loved by your Savior. He exhorts you to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psa. 46.10a ESV). You can’t hug a moving object. Rest in his loving arms embracing you. Watch your hug-o-meter soar!