Have you ever seen a child run with open arms to give a spontaneous hug to a perfect stranger, at least a stranger to them, if not their parents? I have, and I have been blessed to receive such hugs as well! One was bestowed upon me at a bus station by Sarah, who was then about three years old. Although we had never met, she ran toward me at full speed, with her arms flung wide. I barely had time to brace myself so I could pick her up. As her arms wrapped around my neck, I smiled my thanks to her parents who knew just what I needed! They were old friends of mine.
Sarah knew there was powerful healing in her parent’s hugs, and she knew that her hugs held the same healing power. For the rest of my visit, Sarah was at my side. When we arrived home, she introduced me to all her toys, and she insisted I sit beside her at mealtimes. My pint-sized hostess pointed out the cookies she had made for me; Sarah had decorated them with the finesse that only a three-year-old could achieve. It was easy to tell that she genuinely loved me by her spontaneous affection and chatty disposition. She made sure I received many hugs over the course of my visit.
How did little Sarah learn to love me before she had the chance to met me in person? By following her parent’s example. Sarah’s mom and dad loved me as if I was their sister. They knew me all too well and they were well aware I wasn’t always loveable, and yet they loved me anyhow.
To prepare Sarah for my visit, her parents showed her pictures and postcards I had sent from around the world. Sarah’s mom pulled out our old yearbooks. Sarah’s older brother remembered me, but just barely. He was happy to see me as well!
Their mother had been my best friend for years, and as she prepared the house for my arrival, she regaled her daughter with stories about some of our antics in high school and beyond. Earlier in the week, they made a special trip to the grocery store so that they could bake my favourite pastries. There was an amusing story behind those pastries of course, and Sarah listened intently.
Her mother explained that I was probably going to be very tired and maybe a little sad when I arrived, (I had just left a mission assignment), but I would be very happy to see them. Her daughter tucked all this knowledge away until the hour that we finally met at the bus depot. It was her trust in her mom and dad’s affection for me that propelled her to love me well. Over my short stay with the family, Sarah and I developed a special friendship of our own.
May I be as attentive and teachable as little Sarah was so long ago. May I listen to my Father’s heart so I can love well. May I walk beside Him, ready to embrace those who are in need of His love. May I welcome the broken and the weary with open arms and an open heart, just like my Heavenly Father taught me. And may I have eyes to see the potential new friends God is bringing along my path.
All are welcome in our Father’s house.
When you find someone to be difficult to love, ask God to give you his perspective of that person.
If you are not sure how to demonstrate love to others, go through the Gospels carefully observe Jesus’ interaction with the everyday folk who he came across on his journey. How did he treat them? What did he say about them, even at their worst? There are a whole lot of sermons that speculate on some people’s motivations and backstories that were never mentioned in the Gospels. Jesus didn’t seem to focus on their past exploits, whether good or bad. He just healed their bodies, minds and spirits, restored them back to His Father, and gave them keys to walk in freedom.
Although Jesus had harsh words for SOME Pharisees and those who used religion to oppress others, there were many of with the Pharisee and Sadducee communities who were his secret followers. How do you think Jesus got through to their hearts? Just some points to ponder.
Don’t forget to join me on YouTube. It costs nothing to subscribe to my channel, and it is simple to do. Click on the red subscribe button, then on the bell that appears. That easy! You will receive a notification every time I post a new video. I am posting daily short devotional messages there as well as random thoughts and casual “What’s up, Katherine?” segments.
Follow me on Facebook. You do not need to send me a friend request to follow me. However, I welcome friend requests if you message me first to say you know me from the website or email list! Here is the Facebook link.
Sign up for my weekly email that not only includes a devotional but also seven quotes from prominent authors, speakers, and heroes of our faith. I do not use this mailing list for any other purpose!
All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Like what you read? You can help keep this ministry in several ways. Find out more HERE
Until Next Week,
©2019 Katherine Walden
Sign up to receive a weekly emailed devotional by Katherine by using the following form.