The Lord your God is with you...Zephaniah 3:17
There is an abundant variety of hugs. A sampling of a few…
The tentative A-frame hug. You know the one. You stand a safe distance from the hugger and put your arms around their shoulders quickly and lean in, but only with the top half of your body. Not the type of hug typically given to your most cherished friends.
The obligatory quick hug. This hug says that I’m supposed to hug you, but I don’t know that I really want to. It’s the kind of hug given to and received from family members or those ‘friends’ you try to avoid in the supermarket.
The solid bear hug. This hug says I like you. I really like you. You know you’ve been hugged by those that give bear hugs, and it’s not awkward or unwelcome. It’s a full embrace that is infused with warmth and substance.
The hold-me-while-I-cry hug. This is the one we all long for, even if we won’t admit it. Someone to wrap us in their embrace as we bury our head and let go of all the sorrow and sadness in our souls. Someone to rub our backs as our shoulders shudder with the sobs of the darkness of our day. Someone to let us rest in their lap while we absolutely, totally lose it. Someone to be with us as we wash away the pain.
Which one do you imagine when you think of God’s embrace?
Do you believe He is hesitant and cautious with you? That he certainly doesn’t cherish you…not you who has made such a mess of your life.
Do you believe He is only holding you because He has to? That He typically tries to avoid being with you? (Truth be told, it’s most likely the other way around…we are the ones that typically do the avoiding.)
Are you surprised He holds you longer than expected? Are you stunned by the warmth of His grip?
Can you believe He is with you and draws you into His lap from the heap you lay in at His feet in a pool of your own pain? Can you believe that He has Grace for even you…the you who has made such a mess of your life?
Believe it, my friend. Grace awaits you in the full hold-me-while-I-cry embrace of the Father. He enveloped the Prodigal with Grace when He returned home and He is waiting to enfold you with the same.
20"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20b
Meditate on this painting, 'Prodigal Daughter' by Charlie Mackasy