I have intense sugar cravings. It’s the only addiction I battle. Sometimes I’m better at walking the picket line on simple carbs than at other times–like now! Lately I’ve been caving and the more I cave, the harder it is to recover balance.
The easy way is preferable to our carnal natures and our fleshy flesh, flesh! Balance is hard–we gravitate to the road of least resistance. We get dizzy swinging on a pendulum from one extreme to the other. As Paul says, “My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak.”
Lately I’ve been walking alongside someone who is going through a very rough patch. My flesh would like to spare her excessive pain and provide her an easy path to the other side of this hard place she is walking. As I was wrestling and praying about what my role in her life should be, the Lord dropped a picture into my mind.
You know those polite hugs you get at church? The one-armed side hugs? It’s the one you give your friends’ husband or the pastor gives you! But there’s the two-armed bear hug. It’s the one that draws you in, goes straight to your soul, bolsters your waning strength and leaves you feeling incredibly loved and supported.
The bosom to bosom bear hug conveys so much more. Don’t get me wrong– there’s a place for the one arm side hug. I wouldn’t want my cute friends blessing my husband with a bosom to bosom anything!
Recently one of my daughter in laws gave me a Mother’s Day hug and I began to pull away a little too soon. She held on and said, “No. This is a long your-a-terrific-mom hug!” I was blessed because her hug wasn’t casual. It had content! I received a similar hug last Sunday from a church staff person thanking me for my service!
The picture God gave me was of Him embracing someone who’s face I couldn’t see. My view was of His back. Written in red on the back of His robe was the word L O V E. His left sleeve bore the word G R A C E and on the right sleeve was written T R U T H.
And then I heard Him say:
Most of the time we want the accommodating, snuggly goodness of God’s one armed grace hug. We want Him to swoop in and fix our blunders, bandage our booboos and bless us with endless favor. And those He does for us–in moderation. Because He loves us with pure and healthy love His embrace requires His arm of truth as well. Truth isn’t always easy to hear and we definitely don’t always welcome the reality and discipline that comes with truth.
Balance. That illusive and hard-won discipline we strive for in life!
You see; Grace covers us while Truth sets us free.
I hope this reminder brings a stabilizing comfort to our hearts as we navigate the road of Godly character! I hope we will be encouraged to embrace those we love with both grace and truth!