The power of physical touch. Spiritual intimacy, and the hope that is in Christ Jesus. Scripture is full of stories of healing. In the majority of those stories, a human touch is involved. There is also a face to face conversation. i can think of only one story where Jesus says, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” Matthew 8:13 This was the Centurian who pleaded for the life of his servant. Jesus offered to go to the man’s house, but, in the end, healed the servant without going. At the moment, i can not think of another instance where there wasn’t some form of touch involved in the process of healing.
Now i am not saying that it is required, i am only raising the point that it seems pretty clear that we are physical people, and therefore a physical touch goes a very long way. Take the women with the issue of blood.
Luke 8:43-48 English Standard Version (ESV)
43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[a] she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter[b] said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
This woman needed to touch Jesus, not because it was the only way to receive healing, but rather, it was the step of faith reaching out in human touch. There are many instances of healing, Jesus laying on of hands, and each one is a miracle that shows God’s faithfulness. It also reveals humanity’s need for the physical, for the spiritual touch of the divine nature that dwells in us, as we are created in the image of God.
We are living in a time that humanity is lockdown. There are people in hospitals who, although they are getting the human medicines they are missing the touch of the divine, brought in through the personal impressions of those we know and love. We were created for this type of intimacy. God said, “Let us create man in our image.” We are created in the image of the Divine. No wonder scientific studies show the healing power in touch. Here is an article that supports this idea of skin to skin contact with preemies and how critical a loving touch can be. Although this article is on preemies it is clear even in the article that this idea stretches well beyond birth.
So naturally, with lockdowns and the lack of personal touch from loved ones to those sick and or recovering from surgery is leading to great heartbreak. Whether slowed recovery or even death, that perhaps could have been avoided by the power of human touch. And not the touch of a doctor or nurse in the line of duty, but a sincere touch of love, hope, faith, a touch of the divine nature through a loved one. We have been forced to phone calls, and although voices are great there is something about presence and touch.
my mom is recovering from surgery. We haven’t been able to see her. We hear her voice, she hears ours, but there is something missing that i can only explain as the intimacy that exists between the spiritual touch. Today, we were able to make a Zoom call with her. It was absolutely amazing. It did lift the spirits of everyone. Earlier that day, my mom was at a low point. Healing was going slowly, the road to recovery seemed bleak, long, rocky, and insurmountable, “I feel like I am withering away,” were the words from her mouth. We were rightfully concerned. The face to face call, although not physical, touch was spiritual in its connection. Everyone felt it, everyone was uplifted by it, most importantly, the one in desperate need of a divine touch was blessed into a new outlook. Hope restored, Faith strengthened, Love displayed.
We are created for intimacy, for human contact, for divine touch. If you have a loved one who is in the hospital and you are unable to see them personally, do everything you can to reach out and make every moment a spiritual connection in the absence of personal touch. Some ideas, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype . . . make those calls to see each other. But also arrange for a personal touch. Call the chaplain, do you know a nurse or hospital worker? Get them to visit on your behalf. In a time of uncertainty, we must become creative. Finally, pray! Take every opportunity to pray and in praying, remember there is hope for even the Centurians servant was healed simply by Jesus’ words and the man’s faith.
You are loved,