Hugged Back

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” James 4:8a

It was a great afternoon with my four kids as we enjoyed dinner and some shopping together. After dinner, we meandered in and out of some stores in the mall, when my middle daughter, who I call my “blond-haired, blue-eyed angel,” reached over and put her arm around me. It wasn’t a hard squeeze, but certainly warm enough that I could feel my eyes begin to water. It was just one of those special moments that you didn’t want to end, and where nothing needs to be said with words, her embrace said it all. I knew she was letting me know, in the sweetest of ways, how much she loved me and was enjoying our time together.

The next day I was running some errands around town and stopped by a department store, all the while praising the Father under my breath. It was something I had been doing a lot lately. Some may call it “practicing His presence,” but to me it was something less intentional and more spontaneous. My heart had been overflowing with gratitude, and I just found myself worshiping and praising Him without end. David said in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

As I have often experienced in moments like these, while I praised Him, I felt waves of love and peace wash over me. I know we’re told to not “live by our feelings” when it comes to the things of God, but God gave us feelings, and I believe that it’s certainly one of the ways He communicates with us. In that moment, under my breath I asked Him, “Father what is that feeling?” And in that still small voice, I heard, “It’s me hugging you back.” Later, as I thought about it more, I felt He was telling me that there was no way He would let me love on Him like that, without Him loving on me back.

It really only makes sense. Our communication with the Father was never meant to be a one-way monologue, but a back-and-forth dialogue. Our Heavenly Father wants to talk to us, communicate with us, and love on us, even more than we “need” to do these things to Him. So, let me encourage you today, in spite of your current circumstance or situation, “love on the Father” and I promise you, He’ll hug you back.

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