In today's world of layers and layers of things to do, places to be, and people to please, the love of those around us can become muddled. We wake in the morning, rush our children and spouses out the door. The things that assure both us and other family members, like hugs, get lost in the shuffle. We all know our children, especially need the assurance, but my husband has reminded me many times, down through the years, that we need the touch and nearness of those we love to be more than a mere thought. We must act upon our love so that it doesn't become lost in the layers.
God's love isn't buried in the verses of his Word. There are many verses that assure us that he desires our love, and that he loves us. We teach our toddlers, songs with words like "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know..." But there is no physical touch for assurance of his love. Lest it becomes lost on us, James gives us a simple solution to knowing God's presence, but it requires us to do exactly the same thing as with our family members. We must stop and deliberately get near to someone to give them a hug of reassuring love. We must get near, or at least express that we wish we were near - if circumstances don't allow the physical action.
Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:8
I asked God what to say to a hurting friend one day, and he said, send her a hug. I have been doing that ever since. Nothing means as much to my husband as a gentle hug. I often hug my grandsons and realize later that I didn't hug my daughter. It leaves the greatest void that seems awkward and unatural. My family did that, as we grew up, they sort of quit hugging one another. It was sort of inappropriate to them. I was so glad when Jimmy's family drew me in with hugs. Everyone you meet of his family and friends wants a hug. Even at church, people greet one another with hugs. Not fake hugs, real ones. If we wonder if God is somewhere in the din of life, James says, take time to draw nigh and God will respond in like manner. His word will open to give us the loving response that assures us he cares. Sometimes all it takes is just imagining that God is giving us a hug. God can fill the act of turning our mind in his direction, with a knowlege of its reality. Imagine taking time to have your children close their little eyes and imagine God giving them a hug. What a precedant to set for their futures!
It isn't as if the word of God is like a modern layered graphic, where you must work through a puzzle of layers to see the message buried within. That may be artistic, but not straight forward. God's word is straight forward. And simple. At least when it comes to his love. Simple enough for a child to understand. God desires us to send a hug his way every now and then.
Dear Lord, I love you and don't say it often enough. But other than just saying it, I am sending YOU a hug. I desire to draw near to you, and know that nearness from you as well. Please also hug someone who is hurting today for me, In Jesus Name, AMEN