Hugs for the Hurting: Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire

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9781416533993: Hugs for the Hurting: Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire

Hugs communicate so much -- and they're especially important for the hurting. hugs express understanding, empathy, commitment, and a passing of strength from one to another. Every hurting person needs to feel the comfort and warmth that flows through a hug.

The pages of this very special book are filled with all kinds of hugs that are written to strengthen the heart of the hurting. Whether it's a warm, encouraging story by John William Smith, an inspirational quote by a well-known person, a powerful, personalized Scripture by LeAnn Weiss, or one of the many inspirational messages by an "anonymous disciple," you'll find that these hugs reach deeply into the heart and say just what's needed.

Whether it's for you or a cherished one who's hurting, share a hug that will last a lifetime.

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About the Author:

John Smith wrote five books in the Hugs series. In addition to Hugs for Mom, he authored Hugs for Dad, Hugs to Encourage and Inspire, Hugs for the Hurting, and Hugs for the Holidays. He has been a preacher and teacher for more than forty years and taught public school at the junior and senior high level; he also taught at the college and university level. He is an in-demand speaker for graduations, as well as for athletic, education, fund-raising events. He and his wife, Kila, live in Huntsville, Oklahoma, and his three adult children are scattered about the country.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

The Gift of Rest

Life can be tiring and frustrating at times! Come to me when you are worn down – stressed out with circumstances and burdens that are weighing you down. I will give you rest!

Love,

Your God of Peace and Rest

    Matthew 11:28–30

    John 10:10

Inspirational Message

    Do you ever feel that your life is a horrible nightmare? Do you sometimes wish you could just wake up and it would all go away?

    When the haze of hurting moves in and threatens to shut out all the light in your life, it’s time to gaze at the eternal light far off in the distance. This inviting light offers comfort in times of trouble, peace in the place of pain, and an enduring hope that no darkness can smother. This light is the light of home – your real home. It’s the light of heaven. When life becomes a bad dream, close your eyes and take a little mind trip to heaven – it’s a wonderful place to visit.

    In the last weeks of Christ’s life, when the ominous darkness of betrayal and death hovered over him and his disciples, he comforted his confused followers with thoughts of heaven: "Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms . . ."

    Can you picture it? The fresh fragrance of new construction fills the place. Excitement and anticipation pervade the air. Each room and every hallway is lit up with the warm love of the living God. No fear lurks in the darkness, because there is no darkness. And listen, do you hear the music? It’s the joyful sound of the angels’ songs. You can’t help but join their chorus.

    You approach a doorway where Jesus is standing. With one nail-scarred hand he points to a golden nameplate, and with the other he touches your shoulder. The nameplate bears your name; his gentle voice speaks words of assurance, "Take heart. I have overcome the world and all of its pain. One day you will be with me in this place, and all that you are going through now will seem only a bad dream. Until then, feel free to visit here in your heart any time you wish. And by the way, you can invite as many as you can to come with you. There’s plenty of room."

The little troubles and worries of life, so many of which we meet, may be as stumbling blocks in our way, or we may make them stepping stones to a noble character and to heaven.

—Henry Ward Beecher

The Nameless Dread

"As the sun was setting,

Abram fell into a deep sleep,

and a thick and dreadful darkness

came over him."

—Genesis 15:12

    When I was a child, I had a recurring bad dream. In my dream I was standing on a vast, flat, endless, unbroken, grassy plain. There were no large rocks, valleys, hills, trees, water, people, or towns – not a single place to hide or seek shelter. I had no idea how I got to this place – it was as though I had been suddenly born there. As I looked about me, I was filled with a sense of dread – as though I were in danger from some as yet unknown source. I slowly became aware of something like a vast cloud bank that stretched from earth to sky and from one edge of the horizon to the other. It moved slowly but purposefully in my direction, becoming darker and more ominous with each moment. It was – The Nameless Dread!

    I do not know how it got that title - it was not of my doing. I only know that from the first time I saw it, I knew that-that was its name.

    My reaction was always the same. I would begin to run – to seek any kind of shelter. I ran slowly at first, casting my eyes frantically about me, sure that there must be – had to be – some nook that I had overlooked. Finding nothing, I would increase my pace as the dark horror drew nearer. Ultimately, I would find myself running in abject terror as fast as I could until I was totally exhausted – until my breath came in ragged gasps – until my legs simply would no longer move at my bidding. I would scream for help, but my screams could only be heard in my head – never in my ears – and I was aware that in this land, there was no sound, because there was no one to hear. The sound went out, but it never came back.

    I was alone.

    Alone in a way that I had never known – alone with The Nameless Dread.

    The creeping darkness was cruelly relentless. It never hurried, changed its pace, or varied its direction. It was absolutely sure of its quarry. Actually, The Nameless Dread wasn’t after me – I mean, personally and individually. I was nothing to it – no more than a stone or blade of grass – it simply moved across this plain every day, consuming everything in its path.

    At the end of my dream, when I had reached the last extremity of my strength, I would fall to my knees, interlock my fingers, and raise my hands in a supplicating posture and beg for mercy. I would cry and plead for clemency in the most touching, sympathetic, and endearing terms. The Nameless Dread never responded. It did not and could not hear. It never altered its countenance – it simply came on.

    Just as it reached me – just as I was about to be enveloped and overwhelmed by its misty blackness, which I always interpreted as death, I awoke. My first waking sensation was always the vague awareness of light. I would gradually, fearfully open my eyes – assuming that I was dead and wondering what kind of world I was waking to – and the light would grow. Familiar things – the quilt, the picture on the wall, my chest of drawers – came into view. I would look out the window and there would be the chicken coop – right where it ought to be – the well and the pump, the outhouse, the pear tree, and then, down below the house, the misty fog rising from the swamp. I was alive! It had only been a dream.

"Oh God," I would say, "Oh God,

it was just a dream –

it was just a dream –

it was just a dream!"

    Over and over I would repeat that phrase as the wonderful, dawning reality swept over me that I was not dead – that I was not awakening to a new and frightening world. I would be drenched with sweat, trembling from head to foot; real tears would streak my face, and my fingers would ache from being clenched for so long. Gradually, I would begin to relax, pulling the familiar quilt up around my chin – its realness assuring me – as the glory of being alive – of living – washed over me.

    You cannot imagine the pleasure I took in the simplest things. I would slowly finger my old, worn blanket – made for me by my grandma Smith – tracing the quilted pattern as though I were seeing it for the first time. The chicken coop and the outhouse were not the drab, decaying, ordinary things they had been. They were wonderful, glorious structures – and I took individual pleasure in them. The smells from our kitchen would float into my room, and they were not of ham and eggs but of exotic dishes – ambrosia and the nectar of the gods. All of these things were created anew for me every time I had the dream. Life was born again by the morning – I tingled with it – I wanted to open the window and shake my fist at The Nameless Dread and say, "I beat you."

    All of us at times feel the creeping, overwhelming, blackness of The Nameless Dread. It has many names and many faces, and it comes in many forms. We call it aging or loneliness or cancer. We call it fear, heartache, hopelessness, ingratitude, guilt, death, or depression. And when it enters our lives, we run before it, frantically seeking shelter, vainly seeking help.

    And finally, we reach the last extremity of our strength, and we fall to our knees, begging for clemency – and we lift our eyes to heaven – and we see standing there the Son of Man, with arms outstretched, with hope upheld. He’s standing where he’s always been – waiting for us to look up – waiting for us to seek his aid. For the child of God, the blackness of The Nameless Dread is overcome by th...

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