Think of your four favorite hugs. Are they from a grandparent? A parent? Your spouse? Your child? Now think about what it is that you love about these hugs. When you are in their arms, do you feel accepted? Loved? Beautiful? Complete?
In any relationship, there is a touch of bittersweetness because none of us are perfect. During one of those wonderful hugs, there are always voices whispering in your head. "I should call her more often." "I wish he would call ME sometimes." "If only I could take back that hurtful thing I said." "Why does she have to grow up?" Even if we aren't consiously aware of the voices, they are there.
Now take those four favorite hugs that I asked you to think of before and I want you to imagine straining out all of the bittersweet parts. Strain each one until what is left is beautiful and flawless. Now take those four purified hugs and add them together into one pure hug that encompasses all of your favorite things. Take that one pure hug, multiply it by 1000 and add the power of the universe to it.
This is what I imagine a hug from my Lord to be like. I think it will feel sweet, safe, passionate, and singularly our own. It will be beyond description and once we find ourselves in his arms, we will never leave them. Praise God!
On Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, Marshall Arnold Hagen died in a car accident at the age of 20. Right now, Marshall is in the arms of our Father, experiencing this boundless love. I can be certain of this because his hope, like mine, is in Christ. And that is a hope that does not disappoint.
Marshall's brother, Mason Hagen, was also in the accident and is currently in the hospital with severe burns. Please pray for his quick healing and that skin grafts will not be necessary. Please pray that he would be able to leave the hospital, at least temporarily, to attend his brother's funeral. Please pray that Mason would heal emotionally as well and would find freedom from the guilt he feels. And please pray for the entire Hagen family -- Mark, Kristen, Hannah, Heidi, and Madison -- to be filled with God's love and comfort as they grieve the loss of Marshall and pray for the healing of Mason.
I didn't know Marshall as well as I do some other members of his family, but his death makes me angry. It is unfair and just doesn't make sense. I hope that you feel the same way because I think that is the response that God wants from us. We were not created to live in this world full of pain and it should not be okay with us when something like this happens.
I'm not saying we should let this anger stand between us and God. That is certainly not what He wants. This anger should propel us toward God. Go to Him and tell Him how you feel. Rant and cry and shout if you need to. God wants every part of your heart! If you will come to him with your pain, He will use you to help this world.
God speaks differently to every person and the things he says will be different for every person. But his purpose for us all is the same. He wants us to come to Him, broken and powerless, and let his love and power fill us until it overflows into the lives of those around us. That is the only way we can really make a difference and it is a privilege that I hope I never forget the honor of!