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The Hug by Mike Ramey
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When a Christian hurts and/or is afflicted, the teachings of the KJV Bible become more real to them than ‘just’ words and letters on a page. I have heard it said that a saint truly learns more about biblical truths when they are flat on their backs, than when they are in church.
Over the course of a Christian’s life, one happens to collect stories that usually serve to ‘fire and inspire’ them during the rough patches of our pilgrimage to our true destination…that being the other side of the Jordan; heaven itself. It is the same for the preacher as well as the layperson. “Pilgrim’s Progress” was a work written by John Bunyan when he was at his lowest point of living. There have been hymn writers who were infirmed when they wrote some of their best hymns that are considered the ‘bedrock’ of the Christian faith today. The thing in common? Affliction. Trial. Persecution. Suffering.
One of my heroes and mentors in the preaching vocation was Rev. Calvin Wood, a man short on stature, but powerful in a pulpit. He was more than 80 years old when he passed a few years ago. This man, blind since about one and a half years old turned his affliction into power for the Lord. During his lifetime, he served as Pastor of three churches, taught in Seminary, married, had children and was available to help Christian churches, Pastors, preachers and others regardless of their denomination. A few years before he went on to glory, I had the opportunity to sit under his teaching and preaching. One of the things that he told me has stuck to my ribs to this very day: “Boy, you need to get into the Psalms!”
He was right.
The Psalms served as a doorway into studying additional parts of the scriptures.
However, when life hits you right between the eyes, you may be a solid student of the Bible, doctrine and prayer…but it is our Lord Jesus Christ with His Holy Spirit that brings you those “tools of life” that will see you through the nighttime of your difficulties.
Day by day. Hour by hour. Moment by moment.
Another one of my favorite stories of our faith. A little girl called to her mother as a thunderstorm was raging outside of the family home. The mother came to comfort her daughter, and reminded her of the love of Jesus. “You do believe that Jesus loves you in this storm, don’t you honey?” The little girl said yes. “Then why are you still afraid of the storm?” “Well,” said the little girl, “I just want Jesus to be right here, right now, and feel him wrap his arms around me with a great big hug.”
Let me unpack what prompted me to write this column.
In my own case, my beloved wife was hospitalized with a mysterious affliction. She was fine one morning, bright and chipper. A few moments later, she told me to call the ambulance. She was whisked away to a nearby hospital. I took my time in the Lord to make the trip to the hospital, and spent several days going to and from it to take care of the household, keep in prayer, and alert some of the other saints that I knew to pray for her, and her recovery.
It was amazing watching the Lord work in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, I’ll state it plain; it was a battle. Not just a ‘test of faith’ but a test to see IF I had learned the lessons of faith. One of them: “If you don’t understand what God is doing, don’t get mad at him…let Him do what He is going to do. God, through Jesus Christ is still sovereign. We are finite.”
Don’t blame…just kneel before Him.
Anyway, on one particular afternoon, I was worn out as I left the hospital, waiting for the valet to bring the car to the entrance for me to make that cold drive home…in the midst of a warm summer evening. When someone you love who is also in the Lord is on their sickbed, all one can do is hang onto your prayer life, and as much Jesus as you can latch onto.
A woman and her son were getting their car for their trip home from the same hospital. I guess that she and the boy had come to visit a sick loved one. The little boy was about four or five and had his video game console within his grasp. I managed a wave to him, from the bench I was sitting upon. I was tired, worn, and on the verge of tears.
Instead of the typical, shy, half-wave of a child who wanted to stay close to his mother, the youngster ran over to me, and gave me a powerful high five! He showed off his game console, chit-chatted for a bit, gave me another high five, and laid a powerful hug on me…the type of hug that was far stronger for a child of his small years.
The hug was saying: “I’m with you, in your need.”
I felt Jesus in that hug; letting me know that, “I am with you at this time, and always.”
Well, I scooted the youngster back to his mother, who wasn’t concerned that her son had ‘run off’ to help a stranger. She, too understood the need of giving a hug to someone in need.
As the youngster and his mother drove away, I felt the hug even more, and realized that in my time of need; with my so-called ‘maturity’ in Christ, I was just taught one more time the joy of a child, and the power of His hug…given to me by someone in the family of faith, that I never knew.
Next time that you feel you think you ‘have all the answers’, and you arrive at a roadway of your faith where you don’t know as much as you think you do…and are tempted to fall apart and thrown in the towel because of the pressure of the situation, just remember one thing: The power of a hug works wonders to remind us how much He hugs each of us in our time of need. God bless you, dear reader and keep your hug armor on! The arms of Jesus are outstretched to take in all of us, or, each of us in those pathways of affliction, trial, and tribulation. This is what the Christian relationship has over ALL of man’s religions. There are plenty of hugs in Christ Jesus!
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Book Reviewer, P-School Ranger, Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The Ramey Commentaries” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. To drop him a line…or a whine…the address is still the same:
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