Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Hug from Jesus

There are moments that can't be explained, miraculous things that occur that remind a person of God's continued presence and love.

I spent this afternoon wondering if I should actually blog this, because more than one person will say I'm certifiable. But in retrospect, I decided to take the plunge for two reasons: 1) Writing this down serves as a reminder to myself in the future when I need to know that God is by my side and 2) Writing this down serves as a reminder to the rest of you (who are also strong believers) that God is by your side, always.

Church is a time of strong communing for me each week, and I don't just mean the encouragement I get from other believers. I sink into deep reflection and thanksgiving each Sunday. I'm a Lutheran. I enjoy the liturgy, while many people may find it boring. I repeat the words, sing the cadence, listen to those around me and most importantly, concentrate fully on the meaning that each Scripture and reading has to my life.

There was nothing particular about this week's sermon that related to my circumstances. There was nothing expressly moving about the organ music or the attempts of the choir at staying on key. Most people might even say the hour-and-a-half service was boring and uneventful.

But something profound happened to me.

I got a hug from Jesus.

And I don't mean something I conjured or mulled over. I had a real experience in which I felt His presence today.

We'd just finished with Communion. Communion is my favorite time of the service, because I enjoy coming to the Table and considering all of the suffering Jesus experienced so that I might live. It's a time when I can tell Him how grateful I am, how much I love Him and also confess any sins or speak with Him about someone with whom I have a grudge.

I returned to my seat, grasping Neil's chubby hand in mine, and continued to sing hymns while others partook in the Meal. And then my mind wandered. I started to worry about the upcoming week. I started thinking about bills. I started churning about whether I would get paid on time by my clients. I started fretting that my child would be leaving for a 14-hour car ride with his father for Thanksgiving and would be apart from me.

All of the goodness from the worship service suddenly started evaporating. All of the peace was filtering away, like water in a tub after a hot soak, leaving me feeling cold and needing comfort. I looked at my watch. I shushed my child, who was rustling pages of a coloring book. I clucked my tongue and rolled my eyes and thought, "When will this be over? I need to get home and take care of things before Monday starts."

Then the last of the people in the congregation sat. Communion was complete. The service was almost finished. The pastor stood to give his blessing over the Communion table and say a prayer. I stood with everyone else and bowed my head.

And that's when it happened.

Suddenly in my mind's eye, unbidden, I saw clearly a snapshot of me, standing there with head bowed, and behind me, His arms around my chest, his head bent forward to rest on top of mine, his robe enveloping my arms ... was Jesus.

Jesus gave me a hug.

In that very moment, all thoughts, all worries, suddenly vanished.

I was flooded with peace. It was as if nothing, none of that, had an ounce of matter. I felt loved and cherished. I felt protected and upheld. I felt no condemnation for allowing worry to take over, but a gentle assurance that He was taking care of me. There was nothing, nothing, standing in the way of His love for me.


I left that service feeling blessed, calmed, thankful ... and most importantly, loved.

Jesus gave me a hug today.

And you know what? Those hugs are available for you, too.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:

'For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-- Romans 8:31-39


  1. That is profound. I've always envied your ability to find such coprehensive comfort in your faith. That's not easy, so you must be an incredibly strong person.
    I could read your stories all day and all night. You are a great writer, my friend! A GREAT writer.

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