We watched the recent movie Temple Grandin last Sunday night with our young adult group (I'm not sure why they put up with us, but they do). It is the life story of a girl with autism who fights and grows through the struggles of her condition and ends up making significant contributions in the her fields of interest.
One interesting feature of learning to cope with her condition was her "squeeze machine." She was averse to human touch, even from her mother, but evidently still had the need/desire for some kind of hug. One day, watching the herding of cattle, she saw how an animal was calmed by being confined in a pen that contricted movement, that hugged the cow. Later, in a moment of agitation, she ran to that place in the pen, and begged to be constricted in the same way. She found that it helped.
Temple later constructed her own "squeeze machine" which she used on a regular basis to provide comfort and security. What others enjoyed by way of human touch, she found and enjoyed an alternative.
I have been thinking about Jesus as our "squeeze machine." Colossians 3:3 says, "your life is hidden with Christ in God." Sure, human touch is a blessing. But frankly, human hugs are unavailable to many people much of the time. Are they just out of luck? The natural man's response is then to come up with some alternative, and some of those alternatives turn out to be perverse and destructive.
But fellowship with Jesus is sufficient and satisfying. Listen to this description: "if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion .." (Philippians 2:1). That's pretty good comfort and security. And how about one more: "and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete" (1 John 1:3,4). That would be a heavenly hug.