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Bear Hugs

1 John 4:16 “And so we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.”

From the time my son was about a year-old until he was about four years old he had one favorite stuffed animal. He carried it everywhere, slept with it, played with it, and kept it by his side around the house. It was a good-sized stuffed bear. Not bigger than him because he could carry it by it’s bow but not small either. As a toddler it was almost as big as him. He loved that bear and I had sewn the many holes from wear and tear before it was retired by his fourth birthday. Mr. Bear was one of his securities and many times we found him snuggled peacefully with the bear.

Although the bear couldn’t love him back, couldn’t hug him like my son hugged it, my son found a joy in his bear. It brought him a peace every child needs.

When I think about that bear and look back at the pictures of my son I think about us as adults. Don’t we all have something still in our lives that still brings us peace like a child? A comfy blanket or our own stuffed animal. I still have a couple stuffed animals from my childhood packed away, but when I see them, I’m brought back to my happy childhood. My oldest inherited one of my big stuffed bears when she was little and to this day she sleeps with “Big Beary” as one of her pillows.

Even though these objects are incapable of loving us back, the natural innocence of a child will love them with their whole heart, believing the stuffed animal loves them the same. As adults we tend to lose that pureness of loving no matter what we get in return. We put conditions on love, we lose trust of others. It’s sad to lose that innocence you find in a child.

John speaks in depth in his letters in 1 John about how God himself is love. His love has no conditions, He accepts you as you are, and we can love because He loves us (1 John 4:19).

Unlike a pillow or stuffed animal, God’s arms are outstretched waiting for us to love Him. He accepts us like a child believes their toy accepts them. When we allow God to love us wholeheartedly, we can have the same assurance and peace, like my son when he slept or cuddled with his bear. Believing you’re loved makes it so easy to love back and knowing God’s real love makes it possible to love with our whole hearts.

Allow God to wrap you in His bear hug today and find peace and comfort like you did when you were a child with your stuffed animals or the things you found security in.

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