Hugs from God's Arms

Did you ever have one of those times when your outlook on life is just plain gloomy? I'm there lately, for a variety of reasons that I won't list. Because I know the Source of joy, I've been praying for an extra dose of comfort. The other day my morning prayer time was full of complaints like, "I can't hear You clearly, God. Could you just give me a little nudge of encouragement?" I came away frustrated because God didn’t answer me immediately in any tangible way.

Then I heard from a writer friend. Just a short note that said, "You’ve been on my mind lately." We exchanged a few emails, mostly me complaining to her, laying out my woes. She reminded me that God's mercy follows me all the days of my life. (From Psalm 23.) I felt a little better.

Not long after that, I got another email from another friend. He shared a bit about the busy life he's been leading lately, and then reminded me of a chorus we both used to sing a long time ago: "It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus. Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of his dear face all sorrows will erase. It will be worth it all when we see Christ." Again, I felt a little better.

That night I went to the communion service at church, looking for a personal touch from God during that special, holy activity. I didn’t get it, and walked away from the communion rail with my heart still heavy. But afterward, I helped a dear lady clean up the church kitchen, and she chatted away cheerfully as we washed dishes, and hugged me when we finished and said, "Thank you. You’re so sweet." And I felt a little better.

The next morning during my prayer time, I complained to the Lord, "I just don’t understand. I've asked for a special touch from You, and You seem to be ignoring me. Why, Father? Don't You love me?" And as I was praying, I remembered my writer friend's emails. And my other friend's song lyrics. And my church friend's hug and cheerful chatter. I had one of those "ton of bricks" moments. We are the body of Christ. We encourage each other, build each other up, hug each other with God's arms.

And I felt a whole lot better.