Wednesday, May 18, 2016
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It was almost nighty-night time – which is always a challenge when a grandma is sitting on the babies – I mean, well, we call it babysitting I guess. My favorite grandma was babysitting our five and two-year old grandsons at the time and reading them a night-night story. That's when the thunderstorm decided to really start doing its thing. I mean big thunder! Big lightning! Big grandson eyes! I would have helped, but I was under the bed. Now, my wife is a very resourceful person. She said, "Hey, guys, did you know that every time you hear thunder, it's time for a thunder hug?" Well, they were eager to feel Grandma's hug right then. And a few other times that night. I even came out from under the bed for one. You know, the sky would roar and they'd come running saying, "It's time for a thunder hug!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "All Those People Who Need You."
We all need them, don't we? I mean those thunder hugs. Especially at times when the storm is picking up and our security is shaking. I for one am deeply grateful that we have in our God a Heavenly Father who we can always run to and say, "It's time for a thunder hug!" And He has wonderfully promised that He is "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear..." (Psalm 46:1-2). That's why David could say when he was a fugitive for his life, "I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4).
But we're running into people all the time who are, at that moment, in desperate need of a thunder hug – because it's their lonely time, or their broken time, or hurting time, or fear time. In a busy world, it's getting harder and harder to find someone who will see that you're in need of some tenderness and encouragement and stop long enough to give it to you.
The story our Savior told in Luke 10 is very much for you and me, and very much about people we know or people we're meeting. In answer to a question about what it means to love your neighbor – and who Jesus meant when He said "neighbor" – Jesus told about the man attacked by thieves on the Jericho Road. In Jesus' words He had been stripped, beaten, and left for dead. Two religious leaders saw the need and walked on by.
Then in Luke 10:33-34, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus said: "A Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him." So, who's your neighbor? Well, first and foremost, that person in your path who needs someone to stop and offer their love and their assistance – who needs a thunder hug in the storm.
We'll never really fulfill what Jesus called the second great commandment unless we're looking for and stopping for people who need us. Or are we too busy? Too self-absorbed? Too preoccupied? If you're sitting there waiting for someone to give you some thunder hugs, your first order of business should be for you to look for someone who needs your thunder hug. Many of us may feel we just don't have the gifts to have a speaking or teaching or music ministry. But this is ministry within the reach of every child of God!
Sometimes, we avoid people in need because we're not sure what to say. It's not your words they need anyway. They need your attention, your affection, your availability. What they don't need is your analysis, your judgment, your criticism, or your fixing. They just need to feel the heart of Jesus through your heart and the hug of Jesus through your hug.
So, open your eyes to the wounded people, the invisible people, the struggling people and stop for them. Don't be another religious person who passes by on the other side. It may be someone when you get home tonight, someone who needs a call, a note, an e-mail. Maybe it's someone at church, at school, at work, in the middle of your errands, on Facebook. But if you'll look at their face and listen for their heart, you'll know the storm is really intense for them right now. And you'll know what time it is. It's time for a thunder hug!