hurt healing hugs
When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. —Genesis 46:29b
You can picture this scene, can’t you? This father and son, torn apart for decades, are finally reunited. They were like puzzle pieces coming together without the picture on the box’s lid to guide them. All the sharp edges—all the drama and traumas—that had kept them apart finally made sense in this one embrace. The cherished dad and the favorite son who had been separated by lies and deceit reconnect so profoundly, so perfectly. As a result of all that had happened to them, their love for each other is all the more pronounced, all the more powerful.
Our own life stories are likely not as painful as either Jacob’s or Joseph’s, but we, like these two, do recognize what a long embrace will do for our souls. I’m not talking about the hug hello or goodbye you give a love in your life daily or weekly. I’m talking about That Hug, the one that sends you into a new orbit, at least for a while, if not for many, many seasons to come. That Hug that tells you more precisely how loved you are than any words will ever do. That hug that, when remembered, takes any chill of any winter wind at any time.
Theologically, I get that God is big. Big beyond measure big. I also get, at least in part, God also came as a laughing, engaging, enlightening, charismatic, charming, insightful and warm-blooded soul who changed the lives of his disciples and others when, face to face, his arms embraced their backs.
I also get, at least in part, that God is love. Furthermore, anywhere there is love (as in this case with this father/son duo), we can experience God not in some far off, new forming star, but in the warmth—and with the joy—of familiarity. This insight is more than enough for us to know that God is not only good, but also God in the body still remains real, assessable, and tangible.
And this knowledge is almost as good as the hug itself.
PRAYER: Lord, may I hug and be hugged. May these big, bold and befitting hugs reveal exactly who You are, our God of promise, delivery, and, most of all, love. Amen.