Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bear Hugging God

There are many different kinds of hugs in this world. There’s the hug where you and somebody creepy press upper bodies together, yet bend at the waist so that everything south of the equator is as far apart as can be. There is the man hug where you pat each other on the back. There is the sideways hug where you hug a female, but you are both facing in the same direction in case you accidentally (or on purpose) touch a boob. There are the European pseudo-hugs where it looks like a hug actually happens, but upon further examination there is space between the both of you; just like in pro wrestling. And then there is the thankful power hug.

Everybody knows the story of the man in Acts 3 who was crippled from birth and sat begging daily at the beautiful gate of the temple.

“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.” Acts 3 New Living Translation

I want to point out something in this story that I have never heard another Bible teacher point out: the hug! Yes the guy was healed. Yes he went praising and leaping. But then came the hug. And it wasn’t one of those “thumbs up” thank yous like in the Mentos commercials. It was a power hug. Look at some of the other translations of verse 11:

“While he was clinging to Peter and John…”

“And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John…”

“While the man kept holding on to Peter and John…”

It makes me wonder about my thankfulness. Do I even say thank you when somebody does something great for me? Is my thankfulness shallow? When God does a miracle in my life, do I drop to me knees and “cling to him” prayerfully. There is much said throughout the entire Bible about thankfulness; or man’s lack of it. Like the ten lepers who were healed in Luke 17:

“One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?”

So here’s my deal: 2011 will be the year I cling to God. I will thankfully bear hug him until He has to pry me off with a crow bar. There! I out it down. Now the ball is in my court. What about you?

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