Hugging and Theology

I’m not a hugger. Ask anyone that knows me, and they would tell you I don’t hug people. In fact, I can give you the list of people I feel comfortable hugging:
My wife
My 4 kids
My mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma

That’s it. To put it mildly, physical touch is not my love language. This has been true of me for as long as I can remember. I remember fighting to stay away from kisses from my aunt or great grandma. Or hating visiting my other great grandma because I knew I would have to give her a hug before we left.

But, something has changed.

I have always believed that God can heal people. I grew up thinking, though, that all the miracle stuff of the New Testament was done and over, it didn’t happen now. So, while I believed God could heal people and perform miracles through us, he didn’t. That wasn’t how he was working anymore.

Over the last few months, that belief has been challenged. I have seen someone healed after collapsing in a church service. I have seen someone who was losing the ability to sing and speak, have his vocal chords healed in a miraculous way. I have seen a student who had trouble hearing without hearing aids not need them anymore.

That sounds like a God who not only can heal, but he is healing.

And somewhere deep down in me, this news, that the Holy Spirit is actively at work healing people, has turned me into a person who hugs. Jesus healed people with his touch. I don’t know how that worked, but if Jesus healed through touching people, then touch must be pretty important. So I decided to give people some hugs because Jesus loves them and I can give them a hug and tell them that.

This past week I was talking with a student who is hurt very deeply by some peers at school. We talked for a few minutes and then I asked if I could pray with him. I put my arm around his shoulders (shout out to the side hug!) to pray with him, and the moment I did that, he wrapped his arms around me and held on tight through the whole prayer. That student NEEDED a hug from someone that loved him with the love of Jesus. I think the hug said “Jesus loves you and so do I” a lot more than my words did.

And so, God continues to break into my life and upset my world in awesome and frightening (to me!) ways.

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2 comments

  1. uh-huh…I can remember having to chase you down for a hug whenever our family (or yours) would leave after Thanksgiving. : ) Hope we didn't leave too many scars, Jesse! Enjoying reading about how God is working in and through you.

  2. Comfort zones are a funny thing… It seems that often the way to grow in God is to go outside of those lines that you put up on your own. You had me bawling at the paragraph about those people being healed. The vocal chord experience pushed comfort zones as well. Mainly, drawing attention to himself, when his comfort zone is to hang out and not be noticed. He had to ask for prayer and accept the offer to have a prayer meeting that was focused on his healing. Having people pay so much attention to him and having his worship abilities restrained were difficult, yet also such a learning experience to get around himself, and love God in new ways. Last September was the start of all this… what a year it has been. Good for you, Jesse, for getting outside of your comfort zone so you can show your love of God to others and to show it in new ways.

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