If we are with someone who has just received bad news or is struggling with a difficult situation, the natural thing to do is give them a hug. Well, at least that was true until the pandemic outlawed personal contact. Now we give fake virtual hugs. I guess that’s better than nothing.
Actually, some of us had to learn the value of a hug. I grew up in a family who didn’t demonstrate affection. I knew I was loved. But I don’t remember getting a hug until I went away to college. Then we hugged when we parted or returned. So it was kind of overwhelming when I married into a family who was the opposite. My mother-in-law was a very “huggy” person. She loved people and showed it freely.
Sometimes we go through difficult times when a hug is very therapeutic. I just came home from an eleven day stint in the hospital. That’s the second time in a few months that I’ve been locked away for special care and surgery. This last round of a urinary tract infection, C-Diff, stomach pain, A-fib, and back and neck issues just about did me in. The greatest comfort I could receive was to imagine God’s arms around me in a gigantic hug. I knew I was filled and surrounded by Him.
One thing I’ve learned through this trying time is to be sympathetic with others who are going through similar struggles. That’s the idea conveyed in II Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV): “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Another thing I’ve learned is to appreciate a loving hug from someone who is acting on behalf of God. His arms encircle us through a human action. Is there someone who needs a hug from God through you today? Do you need one yourself? If that contact is denied because of distance or disease, let God work in His special way. Remember that the “God of all comfort” is with us and “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27 NKJ).
That verse is the basis for a song I wrote and recorded with my husband many years ago. It’s an ancient message still relevant today. We’ve pulled it out of the archives just for you. How about giving a listen and letting your heart be encouraged?
“The Everlasting Arms” from Two-Part Sylings