Hugging Jesus

January 31, 2012

I was praying recently, more talking with God then actual head bowed, on my knees praying. I seem to do that more the older I become. On-going conservations about this crazy life and how He is going to get me through it because I definitely can’t do it on my own, are what get me through my hectic days.

God understands me and He’s probably the only One who really does. He realizes that I have a tendency to look like a complete moron in front of people I greatly admire. He knows when I get nervous, I tend to interrupt and He probably cringes, too, when I stick my foot so far in my mouth that I feel like I’m going to choke to death.

He is aware of the fact that the more I study, the more questions I have. He sees my faith evolving and gets that I’m still trying to figure it all out. He knows that I wish Christians would quit using terms like conservative and liberal and just get along the way He intended. I’m sure He sighs and shakes his head sometimes as I stumble down the pathway of life.

So we were discussing love the other day.

I have no problem loving my children, my husband, and other family members. I even love my friends and job but they’re easy to love. They’re tangible. Let’s be honest- God isn’t that easy to love. It’s hard to love someone that you can’t hold, touch, or see. That’s where faith comes in and fills up the cracks in our relationship. We discussed my shortcomings in that department. I talked. He listened.

I couldn’t help thinking of our conversation throughout the day and fought the feelings of guilt that seemed to come with it. I’d like to think that I am a strong Christian. I hope that I could describe myself as being in love with Jesus but I want to love them more.

So that evening as my youngest child cuddled up beside me, I wrapped my arms around her and every now and then would gently hug her closer to me. It was then when I finally started to grasp the answer to my dilemma. I can touch God. I can hug Jesus.

They are there in the eyes of my sweet child. The innocence, the smile of full trust, and total love.

When I thought back over my life, I could see them. Both of them were there in the loving and accepting eyes of my parents, husband, and the first cries of my newborns.

They were also there in the hard times. I know they were because even in the midst of grief and discouragement, I’ve always had hope of a better day.

I’ve seen them in the smiles of the homeless and at work in the lives of the school children I encounter daily. I felt them when I prayed with a sweet friend on her death bed.

So I thanked God again for the subtle way He chose to answer this prayer and after I tucked my youngest into her bed, I drifted to sleep ever so peacefully in mine.

I don’t put much stock into dreams. Some of mine are bizarre and rarely do I ever remember them. This one, however, has lingered and I’m glad.

We were on the Parkway; the one close to my house. The same one that has fatal car accidents every now and then. My husband was driving and our car was packed with family. I was sitting in the back seat in the middle with my children and my husband’s aunt was in the passenger seat. As we came around the sharp curve on the ramp, the car slowly drifted off the side.

It only took a second or two to go completely off the road. I remember bowing my head to pray as we headed straight down, careening actually into the neighborhood that lay below. I remember the way my children screamed.

I was surprised by how the car landed. Not with a thud, bang, or even a jerk. It sailed to the ground ever so gently and the doors opened automatically.

Once out of the car, we were greeted by several people. None looked familiar. As we walked with them, I turned toward the car and saw what had actually happened. Our blue Buick had left the Parkway and plummeted through the air. As soon as it hit the ground, it burst into flames.

I wasn’t shocked. As dreams go, I accepted it and when I turned back around, saw a room that was small but large enough to hold hundreds if not thousands. There were bleachers of people on each side. They were close but not within reach.

I continued to scan the room and then turned to my left and saw a long banquet table. At one end, people gathered around a man. I wish I could describe what he looked like, but I can’t remember. (I couldn’t even remember the moment I woke.) I stood and watched him laugh and talk with the other people fully aware that He was Jesus. The way he smiled and listened and every now and then patted someone on the shoulder or hugged them encouraged me to walk closer.

Within seconds, I stood beside him and waited as he talked with others. He turned to me and smiled with a smile I recognized even though I had never seen it before. That’s when I hugged him. I held on tightly and remember the way his shoulders felt. They were solid and real. After a while, I told Him I had to find my parents and He nodded.

Before I knew it, I was walking through throngs of people. I remember the shock of seeing someone that I didn’t think should have made it to Heaven. Wish I could remember who that was. I’d like to call them and apologize.

I woke and felt a bit disappointed that all this had just been a dream. I know a day will come though when I’ll stand in front of Jesus. I’m looking forward to that hug. Until then, I’ll be sure to look for him in those people and moments I encounter every day.

Put your life in the hands of a God who will one day hold you tightly. He’ll get you through this crazy life. I promise.

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