I think the power of a hug these days is way underestimated.
I believe a hug can heal hearts, soothe away pains, and infuse a sweet feeling of love like nothing else. Granted, I come from an extremely large family that is very "touchy-feely" as some might say, and grew up thinking that hugging everyone, especially the people you loved, was not only the normal thing to do, but crucial in letting people you know you cared about them.
Maybe that is why hugs are so important to me now, even as an adult. In fact, I have spent the last sixteen years devoted to passing the hug tradition down to my own children, and although sometimes they may get a little bit tired of moms hugging obsession, deep down, I know it makes them feel loved and valued.
You see, I dont believe that hugs are simply a form of affection, but instead, an outward symbol of the deep love that someone holds for you in their heart. And I think that for most women, there is no bigger need in our hearts than to receive those special hugs from the people we love, especially from our husbands.
I can always tell when I am feeling a little empty inside, and hug-needy. I can recognize within myself when I begin to feel discouraged, a little joy-less, even feeling a little unloved, and unnoticed. Maybe it is not because of anything that has happened, but simply because of a lack of hugs. Similar to the aching hunger we feel when we are without food for long periods of time, our hearts can ache too for the affection that God created us to desire.
I know that women need more affection than men, and as a result, many men just do not realize how powerful a hug can be. How one sweet, tight hug - full of genuine love and intended for no other reason except to wrap their arms around the person they love - can boost a womans heart so much, that her joy returns, and things seem all better again.
But Jesus knows the power of a hug, and His love for us runs too deep to measure.
Today someone sent me a photo in email, of a hug. Not just any ol' hug, but a Jesus hug.
As I stared at this picture, at this girl held so tightly by her Heavenly Father, I found myself longing for such a hug. In fact, kind of aching for such a hug. I sensed a feeling of discouragement come over me, simply because I so desperately wished deep in my heart that Jesus could hug me like that, with His arms wrapped tightly around my waist as I melted into His chest, my head nestled under his bearded chin, and feeling more secure, loved, adored, and safer than ever before. But when I looked at this picture, in my heart, I began to feel the power of a spiritual hug.
I think we all have those days when we just really could use a hug. A hug that makes us feel loved, appreciated, noticed and valued. A hug that soothes away the hurt, and fills us with joy that warms our heart. I think I got this email today, because God knew I needed a spiritual hug. I needed to be reminded that He is holding me just as tightly, and that His hugs are readily available through the Holy Spirit every day.
Maybe we cannot physically feel His strong arms wrapped around us, but we can feel His love and presence wrapped around our hearts. We can feel the power of the Holy Spirit residing in our hearts. We can choose to believe that Jesus knows when we need a hug, and those are the times that He will be there with open arms.
Jesus knows when my heart is longing for reassurance and comfort, and He offers me comfort through the pages of His Word. He knows when I need a friend to lean on, and He pricks someones heart to call me out of the blue and ask me out to lunch. He knows when I am struggling with problems in my life, and He arranges for a special "irony" to occur to remind me that He is aware, and at work.
He knows when my heart is sad, and then one of my children will feel led to just spontaneously give me a big long hug. Now, that is a hug from Jesus.
Our Daddy knows when we need a hug, and He is always willing to give us one - maybe through His Word, maybe through a circumstance, maybe through a friend, maybe through a child, or maybe through the arms of a husband.
He knows our needs, but sometimes it helps to talk them over with Him. Sometimes these spiritual hugs are blessed upon us without request, but sometimes we need to ask to receive.
Do you need a hug today? Just ask Jesus for one. Other than our husband, Jesus is the single most important man in our life, and His hugs matter too.