My son gives the best hugs. I don’t see him often anymore now that he’s a grown man. When we do see each other he is sure to give me a good hug. But life is different these days. We are in a world of social distancing and hugs from people outside your house are discouraged. I have MS and my DMT (Disease Modifying Treatment) makes me immuno-compromised. So no hugs from Taylor for now. He did some shopping for us recently. He dropped the items off on my porch. I stood on the porch and he stood on our sidewalk (lots of social distance). It was wonderful to see his face but I felt the emptiness of not being able to get a hug. It made me a little sad. Who am I kidding, it made me a lot sad.
Living in a pandemic is new to most of us. We are being asked to give up lots of things and we are faced with a lot of unknown. Our anxiety is high. We are all having to grieve what once was and wonder how long this new normal will last. It is easy to feel alone, lost, and sad. It is also easy during these times to feel like we have been abandoned – by others, by God. Like the Psalmist, we cry out “Where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121) or “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22).
Like my longing for a hug from my son, in difficult times I long to feel God’s presence, to know that he hasn’t abandoned me. I have found comfort in Romans 8:38-39 during many difficult times. I am especially comforted this week by the Message version:
“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I am absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable- absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
I might miss my son’s embrace right now but I don’t have to worry about being separated from God’s embrace. We are living in a time of unknown, some of us separated from those we love but nothing, not even social distancing or a pandemic can separate us from God’s love. Taylor’s hug will have to wait but the Master’s embrace is never far away.