Just One Touch

Old Treasures on Tuesdays 👑

Touch

“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’” (Mark 1:41, NIV).

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.

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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?

 

 

12 thoughts on “Just One Touch

  1. Love this so much. Amen. That story has always so warmed my heart because I know what it feels like to be looked upon as the “unclean” one. Walking through PTSD it was Jesus (also through people I hardly knew) who drew near to me, when others stepped back from me.

    Touch is so healing: and it works both ways, as we reach out in the Holy Spirit’s prompting and the other person leans in for that hug too, it is so very healing for us also. When I began sharing my heart through PTSD, a Finnish missionary I hardly knew invited herself over to listen to my story, after a lady from my church told me off for grieving so deeply when the Word tells me my Mama is in heaven.

    I still remember how this Finnish missionary stretched out her hands and clasped mine as tears streamed down her face and she grieved so deeply with me and then began to share of losing a dear missionary friend who was murdered and how her heart still grieves his loss ten years later, and how what I shared in our Bible study about God encouraging me to pour out my emotions freely before Him, so embraced her too.

    Her eyes and touch were so healing. Later, after she went back to Finnland she sent me a book of poetry and paintings and I cried and cried and cried because these poems and paintings gave me the words I didn’t have for what I was going through. As I held that book in my hands God healed me too.

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    1. I am in awe, reading of the gift of that precious woman, Daddy’s perfect provision for your grieving heart. He is just so overwhelmingly good and kind and masterful at the details of exactly what we need! Have you been able to stay in touch with her? I am so sorry that other woman hurt you about your need to grieve. That’s deeply grievous. So grateful for Abba’s balm coming to you after that wounding.

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  2. Excellent post, Jennifer! And us touching someone changes the tone and delivery of the words that come out of our mouths, because we are literally reaching out to them and that in itself, changes a lot. I thought it was beautiful how you touched your daughter’s cheek. I do that quite often with my wife, hold her face in my hands but I shall endeavour to do that more with our now grown up children, thanks to you! Blessings!

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    1. Smiling gratefully as I read your words. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Bruce. I am so deeply glad that you show that tenderness to your wife, and so fulfill your calling to love her as Christ loves the church, tenderly. I know that makes Him very happy! Your comment also reminds me of advice I read somewhere, to have the necessary tough conversations with our spouses when disagreements arise, holding hands. Father, may we continue to grow as instruments of Your loving touch!

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  3. This is one of my favorite stories. I am a “toucher” (not in a creepy way of course) But I find myself touching people’s arms or shoulders when we are speaking. I think that connection makes a big difference in lives. So when we had to social distance during covid, I thought I would go crazy, having to keep my hands to myself. (Also not to be taken in a creepy way, please and thank you!)

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    1. Absolutely not creepy! Touch is just that essential, and all the more for those of us for whom it is one of our love languages! It’s one of mine too, so I am so on the same page with you there. Makes me think too of studies I have heard of that report that newborns not getting touched and held can actually die. We humans NEED to be touched and connected with!

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