My birthday was a blast.
I received 280+ text messages and almost 600 e-mails—not counting greetings from Facebook, Multiply, Friendster, etc… On the day itself, I received phone calls from Canada, Australia, Singapore…
And yesterday, at our Sunday prayer gathering (which we call the FEAST), I probably received a thousand hugs! If we had more time, I would have loved to embrace every single person there.
It felt so good to be loved! And so good to love.
And wherever you are right now, let me give you my “spiritual” hug too.
Because the embrace is so important to my life.
Let me tell you why…
My Morning Prayer
Every morning, I tell God to embrace me.
I’d close my eyes, stretch my arms, smile a big smile, and say in Tagalog, “Yakap naman, Lord.” And I just stay there in that tight, warm, lingering embrace for awhile. Believe me, it makes my day.
The embrace is my basic form of prayer. I love it so much, I even wrote a tiny prayer book entitled, Embraced.
How did I learn to do this?
Blood Inside The Brain
Fourteen years ago, at 75 years old, my father was fixing a light bulb in our garage. He stood onto a chair for greater reach. He lost his balance and went crashing down. His head hit the concrete floor and blood spurted out like water from an open faucet.
Because of the impact, there was like a dripping faucet inside his brain as well. He had blood clots in his brain and he began to experience paralysis in his body. The gravest blow was severe pneumonia, an infection that developed after a few months of staying in the hospital. His lungs were now filled with fluid, and that was when the crisis hit.
My Last Embrace
On that fateful night, the doctor called us up, telling us to rush to the ICU because he could go anytime.
When I entered the room, I saw Dad hooked up to a respirator. At that point, he was only absorbing 20% of the oxygen they were pumping to him. Someone doesn’t last too long in that state.
I looked at Dad’s hands and face, and they were bluish in color. I whispered to his ear, “I love you, Dad. If you see Jesus anywhere, just go with Him. It’s okay.”
That was when the miracle happened. He opened his eyes.
Then he did something that he had not done in the past 25 years. He raised his hands towards my face, and clasped me on both cheeks. Then he brought me down towards him, and gave me a hug.
My father gave me a hug.
My father was not the hugging type. He probably hugged me when I was a kid, some twenty plus years ago. But he never hugged me as an adult.
A volcano of emotions erupted within me.
At one moment, I was happy he was hugging me.
At the next moment, I was sad, knowing it may be his last embrace.
And at the next second, I was angry. I wanted to ask, “Dad, why only now? Why didn’t you embrace me when you were stronger?” But truthfully, I was also angry at myself. I asked myself, “Why didn’t I hug him before?”
After awhile, his arms collapsed on his side.
The Great Miracle
I took one step backward as the doctors and nurses attended to him.
After fifteen minutes, the doctor faced me and gave me a surprise. He said, “Bo, you can go home now. Your father is out of critical danger. He’s better now.”
When I visited him the next day, Dad was even better. And he got better and better and better.
This was the great miracle in our lives. Dad was able to walk out of that hospital. And he lived for another 12 years!
But guess what we were doing during those 12 years?
You bet. We were hugging each other everyday.
Sometimes, we’d meet in a mall. We wouldn’t care if there were thousands of people walking by us. We’d still hug each other.
Being hugged by my father—and feeling so loved by him—gave me an idea of how much my Heavenly Father wanted to embrace me.
Thus, it became my morning prayer—to get embraced by God.
Alas, many people don’t feel that embrace.
Let me now ask you a question.
A very big question.
Are You Afraid To Die?
Most people are.
Sometimes, people are afraid to die because they’re leaving behind unfinished businesses in their world. Like kids. Or dreams. Or projects.
But that’s just half of the story.
Most of the time, people are afraid to die because they have unfinished business in their inner world. I’m talking about stuff in their life that they know is wrong. Stuff called sin.
Sins are excess baggage that weighs down our souls.
It steals away our joy.
It robs us of our peace.
When you know you have but a few days to live, spontaneously, you want to get rid of sin in your life.
First, you want to be forgiven.
Second, you don’t want to sin anymore.
When you know you’ve washed your soul, then you’re ready to die.
You’re not afraid of death.
I don’t speak from a book.
I share from experience…
I’ve Stood Beside A Lot Of Deathbeds
For the past 30 years of ministry, I’ve stood beside many deathbeds. Many times, I’ve prayed over people who were in the last moments of life.
When it comes to death, I’ve realized that there are only two kinds of people: Those who are afraid to die. And those who are not afraid to die.
All classifications disappear. Rich. Poor. Educated. Not educated. When it comes to death, they’re all the same. They’re either afraid or not afraid to die.
I’ve noticed that when a person’s heart is filled with love, he isn’t afraid to die. But a person whose heart lacks love has great fear of death.
I’ve noticed that many of them, as children, weren’t loved. Or they experienced traumas early in life, making them fearful people.
I’ve realized that behind all our minor fears is really The One Great Fear: The Fear of Death. If you fear rejection, you actually fear social death. If you fear heights, or sickness, or anything else in this world, you actually fear the loss of self—which is another word for death.
Here’s what the Bible says: Perfect love casts out all fear.
I’ve noticed that people whose hearts are filled with God’s love aren’t afraid to die. They know death will bring them more of God and more of love.
The Biggest Question
A few weeks ago, I prayed over a woman on her deathbed.
As I put my hand over her arm, in a very weak voice, she asked me, “Brother Bo, where am I going when I die?”
It’s a question that dying people ask. Except for atheists who don’t believe in souls, everyone nearing death asks the question.
But that’s precisely my message: We’re all a dying people. Some today, some in 10 years, some in 50 years. We just don’t know when. But it doesn’t matter. We’re all going to die.
So the question asked by that woman is important for us all: Where am I going when I die?
I answered her question with another question, “Why don’t we pray that God bring you to Heaven?”
I held her hand and asked her to repeat after me. I let her ask for forgiveness from God for all her sins. I made her invite Jesus into enter her heart. Though it was difficult for her to speak, she repeated my prayer.
And I inserted my favorite prayer: “Lord, embrace me!”
When we finished, she had a smile on her face.
She was ready.
A few days later, she breathed her last.
She continued the Eternal Embrace that she began on earth.
My friend, always be ready.
Embrace God now.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Do you already receive this weekly email, Soulfood? Just in case you’re just receiving this because a friend forwards it to you, you can subscribe yourself at www.BoSanchez.ph Just put your name and email address, and you’ll receive it without fail every Monday. If you do, I also give you a free Ebook, entitled, How To Know If Your Dreams Are God’s Dreams.
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