I can’t blame it on my upbringing, although being raised in the fishbowl of the Pastor’s family did help me hone my skills.
No. I think it’s more my nature. Regardless of the drama unfolding in my life, when it’s time to go to church, I paste on a smile and go about my business like nothing is wrong.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to help someone who won’t even admit that there’s a problem?
I wonder if God watches me and rolls His eyes as I square my shoulders and face whatever comes—on my own. I wonder if He wishes I would just open up a little bit more. I wonder if He wants to comfort and encourage me, but I won’t let Him.
I think He got fed up with me recently and staged an intervention.
As I walked into church, a friend caught my eye. I nodded and said “Hi” and kept moving. (I was late after all). But as I turned away from signing a child into class, there she stood.
“You look like you need a hug.”
That’s all she said. She put her arm around me and squeezed. Then walked away.
It took me several seconds to recover. I needed a hug in the worst way, but goodness knows I wouldn’t have admitted to it.
I have no idea what she saw in my face that triggered her concern. My guess is that she saw exactly what the Holy Spirit wanted her to see. And then she responded to the nudge He sent her way.
And when she gave me that hug, it was as if the God of the Universe whispered in my ear, “I know this is hard. I see your pain. I’m still right here, and I’m still in control.”
As a general rule, playing God is a bad idea.
But this is the exception.
The next time you sense God saying, “Give her hug,” “Ask her if she’s OK,” “Tell her she looks nice in that dress,” “Say something kind about her kids” - do it!
Whether it’s directed at your neighbor, your sister, an acquaintance, or the cashier behind the register, God may want to use you to play Him in someone’s life. To be His arms. His voice. His messenger to one of His struggling children.
I have two challenges for you this week.
First, pay attention to the people around you. You don't know the burdens someone is carrying. But God does. If the Holy Spirit gives you a nudge, say “Yes” to whatever it is.
The second challenge is this…if you’re struggling, ask God to put someone in your life who can help you carry the load. And if you find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected hug, recognize it for what it is.
A little love note from your Father.
2 Chronicles 16:9a ~ For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.