I love hugs! I love air hugs!
Since social distancing requires us to stay six feet apart, I have missed our grandchildren’s hugs. To resolve this problem, we have created air hugs. They extend their arms to me and I do the same towards them. Then we both surround ourselves with our own arms. Not as good as when we physically embrace, but better than nothing.
I wonder if the air hugs we give today are symbolic of what God gives us every day. I Corinthians 16:23 MSG tells us, “Our Master Jesus has His arms wide open to you.” We may not see and feel Jesus’ tangible physical arms, but He spiritually surrounds us with His loving arms. David cries out in Psalm 33:22, “May Your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You.”
A hug is defined as an act of holding someone tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection. A hug is a tangible declaration of acceptance. It is a love language. God declares in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Psalm 139:5 says, “You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.” That sounds like a hug!
Although we are still worshiping online Sunday mornings, I realized something last week. As I raised my hands in praise, I was holding out my arms to God. I was giving Him an air hug. In return, I received His air hug. I felt the closeness of His presence. According to Psalm 22:3, the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.
I am reminded of the song Waymaker. The line I am thinking about declares, “Even when I can’t feel it You’re working. You never stop working. You never stop working.” How about changing the words to “You never stop hugging”? We may not physically feel God’s hugs but He is still hugging spiritually! God is continually drawing us into His embrace. He is extending His loving arms to us.
A possible acronym for God’s hug is His Unfailing Grace. God never fails to offer us His undeserved blessings. I want to embrace not only His gifts, but the essence and presence of our Lord. James 4:6 says, “But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” I want to humbly come near enough to God that He will give me a hug.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” That sounds like an opportunity for a spiritual hug. James continues to tell us that the way to receive God’s hug is to cleanse our hands and hearts of unrighteousness. Psalm 145:18 promises, “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”
During a hug, two individuals hold each other closely and do not let go. I think about special hugs my daughter and I shared when she was young. Sometimes when I would be ready to release her, she would cling to me and tell me she was not done hugging yet. We would then linger a little longer in a loving embrace. I never want to be done hugging the Lord!
Luke 15:11-32 records the parable of the Prodigal Son. The younger son took his inheritance and squandered it recklessly. Although the father had let his son go, he was always waiting and watching for his son’s return. Finally, the younger son decided to go back home. He did not expect a hug. However that is what he received. Verse 20 says, “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.” This story depicts our Heavenly Father’s love for us. God loves to give hugs. He is looking for us to come to Him. He wants to give each of us a hug. He wants to welcome us home. He wants to personally pull us into His presence and wrap His arms around us.
The Message translation of Psalm 5:11 is a good description of the prodigal son and his father. “But You’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to You. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration.”
The hugs we share with family and friends today are symbols of what God extends to us every day. Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” God’s everlasting arms hold us in His everlasting hugs.
I still love hugs! I love God’s hugs and I love grandchildren’s hugs!