Ray Stedman, pastor of the Peninsula Bible Church in the Bay area prior to his passing, told an interesting story. A man passed by a book store and noticed a book entitled “How to Hug.” Being a romantic at heart he purchased the book only to discover it was one volume of an encyclopedia covering the words “how” to “hug.”
How many around us are in need of a hug. They’re looking for a demonstration of love. What they probably don’t need is an encyclopedia article on theology!
When God gives a hug it’s his intention that it be a ‘group hug.’
There are some who really don’t like hugging … the group type or any type. To them it’s awkward and invasive. But regardless of how comfortable or not you are in giving or receiving a hug, the message it is to convey is always a positive one.
God hugs to show we’re accepted and that He loves us. His arms around us protect and without words tell us that He’s got our back (and side, top and bottom as well.) He hugs when He senses we’re afraid or confused … when our world has become a foreign, unfamiliar place.
He hugs in different ways. Sometimes it’s a feeling of peace when there shouldn’t be any. Other times He hugs us through his Word, speaking to a specific need we have at that moment. He’s been known to hug us through an unexpected blessing that came from a direction we weren’t even facing.
But most of the time, his hugs come to us from another human being. I believe some of God’s best work is by putting us on the radar screen of someone who may not even know what we’re experiencing. He tells them that we need a hug and we’re surprised when their arms encircle us and they draw us close.
And very possibly, they had just gotten a hug from God in a moment of defeat, or sadness or fear. And as they received the comfort, strength or encouragement from him, they hear him whisper, “Now pass it on.”
When you’ve experienced this transfer, you’ve been ‘group hugged’ by God!
“ …we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that
all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love
everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts
with his love.” Romans 5:5 The Living Bible