“Give them a hug from me”

Following on from “Carrying each other’s burdens” (July 24/12), Christ is now living IN us what he did FOR us. He relives his love for us in our love for each other, enabling us to incarnate ourselves into other people’s lives and take on board what they’re going through, just as Christ incarnated himself into our lives to take on board everything we go through. He carried our burdens, and now he carries them all over again through us carrying each other’s burdens.

That’s why he promises to answer our prayers for those who are suffering, in whatever form that suffering takes. Our prayers for others are HIS love in us anyway, so he’s really answering himself. Our prayers for each other, therefore, are guaranteed an answer, as James tells us in James 5:15 – “Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet.” And in context he’s talking about our prayers for others. Our prayers for others are guaranteed an answer, because “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (from The Message translation).

“Make this your common practice,” then, James continues in verse 16, to be open about our troubles so that we can pray for each other, because in those prayers of ours will come healing, comfort and hope, guaranteed.

What I’m saying in my prayers for other people is, “Please God, give them a hug from me.” Because I can’t lift them out of their misery or desperation like Jesus can. I can’t be there in person all the time to give them comfort. I haven’t got the time to give them all the help they need, nor do I have the right words to say either. But Jesus our eternal High Priest does have the time, he does have the right words and he can be with them all the time, to give them exactly what they need and exactly when they need it. He can give them the hug I wish I could give.

And he promises to give them that hug when I ask him to. And I’m so glad he does because I’m limited in the help I can offer. So when my son-in-law was under fire in Afghanistan and his family lived in fear and desperation every day he was away, I did what I could to give them comfort, but they had burdens of soul and heart I could not carry. So I asked Jesus to give them a hug from me, because his hug would comfort them, and he’d do it for me simply because I asked him, and because he says he will.

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