Last week, I wrote about my astonishment when I asked my son for a good morning hug and he said, “Tomorrow.” I was equally astonished at his response to that question today.
This morning when I opened my arms wide and asked for my morning hug, he walked passed me and sat on the opposite end of the couch. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Why don’t you want to hug me?” To this he shamefully replied, “When I was in my room, I said ‘What the heck?’’’ (This phrase is on our list of no-nos; it sounds so crass coming from his little lips). I was heartbroken that he thought I wouldn’t want to hold him if he made a mistake! Swooping him up, I lovingly reassured him that I wanted him to come to me no matter what, even if he did something wrong.
As foreign as this thought was as a parent, as a child, I could relate. When I do something wrong, the last thing I want to do is climb onto God’s lap. It’s easy to feel like God doesn’t want to hear from me and that I have to work my way back into his good graces. I think maybe if I do a few really good things, I’ll feel worthy enough to talk to him again? Or maybe if I punish myself, I can atone for my sin somehow? I know that salvation is not earned by anything I could do on my own, but couldn’t I just help the process along a little?
From my perspective as a mom this issue is simple. Nothing would cause me to withhold love from my child. Nothing would stop me from wanting to hold him – not even a terrible mistake. No matter how detrimental the transgression, I would always anxiously wait to forgive, reconcile and walk with him through anything. He might not always feel this, especially from afar, but it doesn’t make it any less true. The minute he turned toward me, the warmth of my love would be unmistakable.
If I can extend this kind of love, though hopeless in my imperfections, how much more does God extend His perfect love to us, even when we are at our worst? Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And His atoning work on the cross was complete! There is no need to help the process along by working our way back into his good graces. Any efforts to do so are futile. That’s why Jesus had to die… because there was no way to save ourselves.
Does God like to cuddle? I think so. In fact, I know it – He sealed our access to His lap with the blood of his son. So trust in the saving work of Christ without attempts to earn or help the effort. When you mess up, turn back to His outstretched arms. He anxiously waits to forgive, reconcile and walk you through anything. Come close enough to feel his embrace. And when you do, climb onto His lap, rest your head on His shoulder and cuddle.