Give him a hug for me.

When my father called to tell me that we had lost my little brother Brian in an accidental drowning one fateful day just before his fifth birthday, I was devastated. All alone, I went to my parents’ house and sat in my brother’s bedroom and cried at the loss, and through my pain and tears I pleaded with my God to give my brother a hug for me.  My wife and I then jumped in the car and sped to Colorado to be with the rest of my family.

Many of us siblings had similar thoughts. My mother recounted how she had asked God how it was that He could take what she referred to as her happy boy. Brian had always been this – happy, a friend to all. She told us that she received an answer there on that lonely river bank; she was confident that she had heard in that reply, “Because I missed him too”.

Sometimes God communicates with us directly, as He did with my Mother that day, but often His word reaches us by other means. For me, it has often been through music. There are a few pieces of music that I cannot sing without a catch in my voice as emotion overwhelms me. A chord, a phrase, some unique and special thing that bursts into my soul like frozen fire. Dazzling in its brilliance and overpowering in its intimacy. One such piece is the tender and haunting “Mary’s Lullaby” from Wanda West Palmer.

Set as if Mary were singing to her newborn son – the Son – it describes Mary’s feelings and thoughts as though she had a clear vision of her boy’s future and she desires, desperately, to shield Him from that awful fate if only for that one night as she says,

Away spectored future of sorrow and plight, Away to the years that must follow tonight. The pangs of Gethsemane, let them be dim. The red drops of Calvary, not Lord, for him! Oh let me enfold thee, my baby, tonight, While legions are singing in joyous delight. A new star has risen to hail thee divine,

For you are a King. But tonight you are mine.”

If I make it through the line about Calvary, the next line will undo me anyway. Mary’s plea to the Father’s own Son, “Oh let me enfold thee, my baby, tonight…” is the perfect  complement to my own request that the Lord Himself pass on my hug to my lost brother in that Mary pleads for a moment to embrace Him in the Father’s stead.

These are but two simple examples that help me to begin to comprehend the depth of God’s love for each and every one of us. How must He weep and His great heart must break when one of us loses our way. Though we may get lost in the turmoil and noise of our hectic lives, we must never forget that He is there. He knows us intimately and He knows our pains individually.

Another song that I can never finish without interference from emotion is “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need”. As this piece ends, the words are,

O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.”

He wants us to come home. I’m sure that He misses us.

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