The other day, my oldest daughter Ester was sitting in my room looking like she could use some love. Under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, I put my hand on her cheek and held it there. I didn’t say anything at first, so she looked at me curiously. “Jesus healed people with just one touch,” I explained affectionately. “I’m ministering to you.” Profound contentment instantly spread across her face. She closed her eyes and soaked in the contact with me.
Over and over throughout His recorded three years of ministry, Jesus reached out and physically touched people. The story above out of Mark is particularly moving because of the shunning this man had deeply internalized for the duration of his illness. Being a leper meant that he was forced to stay away from society and urgently cry out “Unclean!” to warn others of his unwanted presence. I can’t even begin to imagine the weight of loneliness and shame that had come to define his everyday existence.
Jesus saw him. He didn’t just see a diseased man, though. He saw right into the depths of the wretched man’s soul. He saw all his pain, and His entire being stirred with intense, visceral compassion. And He touched him. He touched the man that no one wanted to touch, that no one wanted to be close to. He cut right through all the barriers that had closed him out from human kindness and warmth. With just one touch. With that touch, He ministered not only supernatural healing to the man’s physical frame – but also indescribably profound restoration to his inner being.
The Lord has been speaking to me about ministering to others through touch. Just one touch, directed and anointed by the Holy Spirit, can transform someone’s life. I want to encourage you, too, to listen in carefully to the Spirit for His nudges to minister touch to people that He brings across your path. A simple hand briefly on someone’s shoulder, accompanied by a genuine, compassionate smile, could indelibly mark their heart with a deeper understanding of God’s love.
Don’t just limit it to a physical touch, though. Continue to focus in on Holy Spirit in that moment. Where your hand touches, use the eyes of your heart. Watch what He is doing. Focus on His power flowing through your spirit and into that person. Expect Him to move through you each time you are obedient to His prompting in this way. He loves it when you are expectant! He delights to minister His love and healing to His precious ones, through your hands.
A caveat here – of course, we don’t want to go around touching everyone and anyone. If you are uncertain, err on the side of caution. It’s important to be very sensitive to whether touch is welcomed or not by the individual. Particularly when people have suffered abuse, touch can be a very difficult area. Be attentive, gentle, and careful to listen to Holy Spirit, watching the person’s body language. Being led by Him is of utmost importance.
As long as you keep that in mind: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32, NKJV). Don’t be afraid. People, especially wounded ones, deeply need to be touched. Be confident – Holy Spirit has a specific plan for reaching out to them. He will faithfully guide you as you ask Him to and lean into His leading! Daddy is longing to pour His gentle, healing love through your heart and through your hands.
Do you remember a particular occasion when someone’s hand on your shoulder – for just a brief moment – was life-giving in a striking way?