Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Can’t Wait for My Hug, God

By Beth DeCristofaro

The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.  He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”  Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.  The demon has gone out of your daughter.”  (Mark 7:26-29)

Heavenly Greeting     
Dear God,
For a long time,
I have wondered about
How You will meet me
When I die and come to
Live with You in Heaven.
I know You reach out
Your hand to welcome
Your people into Your home,
But I never knew if You
Reached out Your right hand,
Or if You
Reached out Your left hand.
But now I don't have to
Wonder about that anymore.
I asked my mommy and
She told me that You
Reach out both of Your hands,
And welcome us with
A great big giant hug.
I can't wait for my hug, God.
Thank you,
And Amen.  (Mattie Stepanek)

Again and again, Jesus responds with generosity and mercy to those whose faith directs their need to him.  In her anguish, this mother even argues with Jesus pleading for her child.  Sometimes prayer takes the form of argument.  Jesus’ deep compassion kept him from being scandalized at a Gentile woman disrespecting Him.  Rather he sees through into her heart and the depth of love and belief she holds.  I met parents in pediatric ICU, grizzly parents who advocated with passion for their little ones always with the hope that the demon of illness or injury would be driven out.

Of course not every demon was driven out nor blind person restored to sight in Jesus’ Palestine. 

Mattie Stepanek was a young boy with a serious illness who knew he was dying.  His poetry reflects his hope, his faith, his requests to God and his love of life.  His simple yet wise words give me comfort as I picture Jesus, arms extended into a hug, greeting Mattie, Kayla Mueller and countless others who suffer and die because we are human yet live again because Jesus’s death and resurrection was given for all God’s children.   

Visualize yourself welcomed into heaven with the words of Mercy Me: “Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all?  I can only imagine.” (I Can Only Imagine

How do you feel?  Fear? Anger at a life cut short?  Sadness at those left behind?  Bleak knowing how much you left unsaid or undone?  Hopefully, if we have any of those emotions, we will also feel “I can’t wait for my hug, God.  Thank You.”

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