The meaning of the long hug

Iglesia Cristiana La Puerta | Guatemala zona 1

Joe and me at the Door Church in Zone 1 of Guatemala City.

Joe hasn’t been to church.

He was once a stellar disciple in our missionary church in Guatemala. His mom enrolled him in our school, and he got saved. He had a spectacular voice and led worship. But then I had to leave Guatemala. Joe went from a delivery job to a bank job and married his high school sweetheart. I guess he got busy and also maybe a little discouraged. To my great sadness, he stopped being a leader.

On my trip to Guatemala recently, I visited him with a bunch of church members. We wanted to show him he’s still super important. He still has a call of God on his life. He still is useful in the Lord’s service. As we left, he gave me a long hug.

I thank God for that hug. It was full of meaning. It wasn’t a short, customary thing. It communicated years of love and appreciation and maybe a little bit of hurt.

I hope Joe can find his way back to church. I love the dude. He’s like a son for me.

8 responses to “The meaning of the long hug

  1. I was in a church for 5 years. My wife and I were cell group leaders, in the worship team, in the prayer team etc etc. I went to USA and Indonesia and Malaysia with the pastor. But then the pastor started preaching weird messages on being an Apostle…that everyone had to listen to him or else. He began twisting scripture to support his new view. We fasted and prayed to see k the Lord about this. Then we phoned him midweek to tell him we were leaving. I heard from friends later that he preached against us that Sunday. He told people to stay away from us. That was in 2003. 5 years later after having no contact with him or any member of that church of 500 people I was led to go to their meeting one sunday to reconcile. He gave me a long hug as you described. I could sense the love of God in that hug, though I still struggled with what had happened. We have never been back to them since…and we still do not go to any group of believers. We have been a part of 2 more churches since, but have left them. One said we were not welcome, because charismatic gifts are of the devil. The next group are fine, but pride and conceitedness in my own life rose up and took us out.

  2. I’ve had such people too. May the Lord’s will be done and all the plans of the enemy defeated!

  3. It’s sad to see folks start off on fire for God….then just fade away. I wish I know how to slow that down, as it happens all too often.

  4. Thank you for giving his name. He will be in my prayers. God is able to accomplish in mere minutes what it takes us a lifetime to accomplish. Let’s lift this young man up! Thanks for sharing…

  5. Great post. Great Love and pleasing remembrance.

  6. God’s timing is not our timing, and God is in control. Through those times of dryness, God can work rich lessons in Joe’s life. Joe has tasted and seen how good God is. Praying that he will return to the sweet taste of God.

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