Senin, 16 Juli 2012

Heavenly Hugs

Heavenly Hugs
by Grace Fox
Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional

What’s warmer than a hug when we’re feeling sad or lonely? Not much. An affectionate squeeze encircles our body and embraces our heart. It makes us feel cared for, wanted, and valued.

We all need a hug once in a while. As for 20-year-old Maggie, well, hers was past due. One afternoon while driving along Montréal’s busy highway network, she launched into a screaming match with her car’s other occupant – God.

“I’m so lonely – I can’t do this anymore!” she yelled.

I know how you feel, God seemed to reply. But you’ve got Me.

“That doesn’t work,” Maggie shouted. “You don’t have arms!”

Six months earlier, Maggie had been accepted by a mission agency to work in Québec. The organization assigned her to work with French-speaking people. Her role involved attending a French-speaking church and visiting new contacts that her pastor made. There was just one problem: Maggie couldn’t speak their language.

Months passed. Maggie grew frustrated at her inability to hold a meaningful discussion with others. Really, I am smart, but I just can’t get my thoughts out! she wanted to say. She could talk about recipes and the weather and the time of day, but she couldn’t be herself – a thinker, an analyzer, a woman invigorated by debate. She worried that people viewed her as a friendly airhead – a woman who smiled a lot, but with little intellectual depth.

Cars whizzed past Maggie as she continued down the highway. I’ve come here to serve You, God, and what happens? I end up feeling lost, like a ship adrift with no anchor. She pulled into the church’s driveway and parked her car. She forced a smile as she mentally prepared herself to sit through yet another meeting in a foreign language.

As Maggie entered the building, a young woman approached her. She recognized her as a mother of two small children – someone who, despite the language barrier, had displayed friendliness in the past through smiles and small talk. Now, without speaking a word, the woman threw her arms around Maggie and hugged her. And hugged her. And hugged her.

Maggie stood speechless. Wow, God, I was wrong! You really do have arms!

God does have arms – yours and mine, or in Maggie’s case, the young French mother’s. He wants to hug the hurting, and He does that through His children.

Sometimes that means extending literal, physical hugs. A single mom once told me that she often craves a hearty squeeze. I tucked that into my memory bank and make a point of embracing her each time we meet. Seniors love hugs too. And our spouse and kids can’t get enough.

But we can embrace others in God’s love in other ways too. We can extend emotional hugs by reading our child’s favorite bedtime story again…and again…and again. By taking a new immigrant grocery shopping or helping her register her children at school. By paying for a less fortunate boy or girl to attend summer camp or by providing meals to a family whose mother has just given birth. By sending a care package to a college student far from home or writing a soldier serving overseas.

Sometimes we long for heavenly hugs but don’t receive them as quickly as we wish we would. We wonder if God has arms, and if He does, why He doesn’t use them. In those situations, God might be allowing us to experience pain so that we can understand another person’s grief. When that happens, we can ask God to help us see beyond our own needs and to recognize, as the French woman did, the one who needs a hug from heaven.

Opportunities surround us. May God embrace someone through our arms today!

Taken from Peaceful Moments To Begin Your Day, published January 2012.Formerly titled 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women, copyright © 2005 Grace Fox. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. Used by permission

Answers in Times of Great Disaster
In Touch With Dr. Charles Stanley

Almighty God reserves the right to reveal some things and conceal others. Although we may not know why natural disasters occur, the biblical truths we do know with absolute certainty allow us to trust the Lord even in times of great suffering. These include:

1. God is in control (Ps. 103:19). Nothing in heaven or on earth is outside of His rule and authority. He does not react to events but sovereignly ordains or permits them to run their course. Although we cannot know for certain if He has sent a catastrophe or allowed it, we can trust in His goodness and wisdom.

2. The Lord loves people and wants them to be saved (John 3:16-17). Giving His Son for the salvation of the world proves without a doubt that He loves each person. This truth stands firm despite the fact that many reject the Savior. He cares for us, even when we can’t feel it or won’t accept it.

3. God ordains or permits events for His good purpose (Isa. 46:10). Though we cannot fully comprehend what He is doing in each incident, every disaster is a wake-up call for humanity. He is alerting us of the need to repent—so the lost can be saved and the saved can be revived to live totally for Him. Catastrophes open our ears to hear from the Lord.
The One who loves us perfectly is in full control, working everything out according to His good purpose. Knowing this should fill us with hope, even in the midst of crisis situations. The Lord even promises to turn disaster to good for those who “are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

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