I have been thinking about how much I miss hugs during this time of social distancing. I’m not a super hugger, but the older I get, the more I love being hugged. There are also many times that a hug speaks volumes that words can’t seem to touch. When someone is grieving, at least at times when I am grieving, a hug comforts me more than a million words.
- It says, “I care about you and what you are going through even through I may never have experienced it myself.”
- If the loss is a death, it says, “I loved this person too. He/she is irreplaceable.”
- If you are going through a season of grief, it says, “I’m with you. I’m praying for you. I care about you. Call me anytime.”
What does the word embrace actually mean?
Of course I love GOD’s embrace of me. When I pay attention to it, it feels good. But what does the word embrace really mean? The meaning that is most appropriate to today is this one: An act of accepting or supporting something willingly or enthusiastically.
It is easy to be enthusiastic about the gifts GOD gives us when they are fun and exciting–a new baby, a new home, a raise, good health, honors for our children, etc. We all accept them with joy.
But right now, we are in the middle of a gift we have been given that for some has meant a loss in wages, even a job loss. For others, poor health or death of beloved family members. How do we embrace these gifts that are ultimately from the hand of GOD in the sense that He has allowed them into our lives?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17 ESV
Of course, The Gift we have been given is Jesus and the Holy Spirit within us if we are in Christ. But all the other circumstances of our lives are the little gifts that we must learn to embrace.
Part of living in a broken, fallen world is pain, suffering, sickness and death…to name a few. But none of it touches us without going through GOD’s loving hand.
Many of our hard times are part of living in a broken, fallen world. In one sense, we don’t want to embrace them as being the way life was created to be. They really aren’t. They are not only not the way GOD originally intended, but they aren’t permanent. They are only temporary. A day is coming when this world system will end and those who are in Christ, will live in a new heaven and new earth that will not be part of this broken system. It will be more like Eden was before the Fall. It will be the way GOD created it all to be in the first place…only better!
What could be better? How could living in a sinful world, struggling with pain, illness and sorrow be better than never having to do it?
We will have known the brokenness of sin and the redemption Jesus provided for us. We will have known victory over sin and hard times and suffering. We will have seen the good changes He brought about in us as a result of those things we once thought were awful…and they were. No, it wasn’t all great. There were times of failure for sure, but in the process, we came to know the love, mercy and grace of GOD who forgave us. We learned to forgive others. We learned to develop patience…among many other things. We found comfort in GOD’s embrace many times.
So during a time like we are going through right now, how do you see it? Is it miserable for you? Or are you finding ways to embrace it because it is coming from the Father’s hand? I don’t say this lightly. This experience hasn’t been the worst of my life. But it has still been hard.
Many of you are struggling through it on way more levels than I am. Yet I am finding it to be more difficult than I expected. I feel rather wimpy. I definitely haven’t accomplished as much as I thought I would. But as I write, I’m encouraged by the words I read in the Bible. I’m also challenged by some of the things I write.
Yes, I think. That is true. Why didn’t I ever learn that before? Why didn’t I put those things together before?
Because I needed this experience or combination of experiences to go through, to learn what I am learning.
How about you?
What are you learning?
How are you becoming closer to the Lord?
What are you struggling with?
How are you becoming closer to your family? your friends? your neighbors?