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The power of touch

During my high school years, I and many like me, lived far from home. My parents were missionaries in Costa Rica. I wasn’t a regular MK. The regular MK’s spoke the language of the country where their parents worked and had grown up there. It was often the culture where they felt more comfortable.

My parents didn’t go to Costa Rica until I was in 9th grade. (They learned Spanish as young missionaries when we were all babies. Then had to return to the US due to my mother’s health.)  Because I didn’t speak any Spanish, I wasn’t able to attend high school there. The most English speaking school was only half English. So it was decided I would attend the Christian boarding school in North Carolina. The rules were rather strict and included a “no-touch” rule for male/female interaction. stop

I was from a home that was not overly affectionate, but I was used to being physical in joking around, especially with boys. slaps on the back, just normal goofing off! Not only did this rule dampen my friendly, non-sexual interactions with guys, it affected my comfort and ease when it came to expressing affection with girl friends as well.

It was that legalistic thinking that is so afraid of making mistakes that you err too far on the side of caution! Way too far!

So the outcome for so many us who were far from home, homesick, and lonely? We just felt lonelier. Hugs were rarely doled out. We went  for long periods without hugs or the feeling of warmth and care of human touch. The times it happened were rare and stood out because of their rarity. There were lots of words and logic. There was very little human touch…either literal or figurative. Compliments and encouraging words were also rare.

The concept of GOD’s loving care doesn’t come through well in this environment

I know places like this are rarer and rarer these days. But when I watch TV shows like the Duggar family that glorify less touching as somehow being more of a Godly standard, I want to scream! They are totally living out of fear of what people will think or fear that they might have a sexual thought. Of course, they will have a sexual thought!

My husband used to tell me that those thoughts are frequent and common. As a man, he has to deal with it! His feeling was that being appropriately touched less didn’t make a huge difference. Nor did having women wearing baggy clothes! He had to take responsibility for his own thought life and not add burdens to all around him for the effect they might have on his thought life.

But I digress.

When I think of Jesus’ life here on earth, I remember how often He touched people, most of them people who acknowledged that they were overtly sinners or at least ceremonially unclean.

While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy.
And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him,
“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.”
And immediately the leprosy left him.

Luke 5:12-13 ESV

On occasion, people touched Him, as in this touching example.

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,

and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had,
and was no better but rather grew worse.

She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.

For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”

And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him,
immediately turned about in the crowd and said,
“Who touched my garments?”

And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’

And he looked around to see who had done it.
But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him
and told him the whole truth.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well;
go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Mark 5:24-34 ESV

Has your heart, not your head, been touched by Jesus?

Has your heart been touched by Jesus? Not your logic or your intellect, but your heart? Yes, your logic and intellect need touching too, but if it stops there, you will have a problem.

Your heart needs to be overtaken by Jesus, the Son of GOD, the One who is worthy to be praised! He wants to know you and be known by you…in a relationship. He doesn’t just want to have you read about Him. (I’m so preaching to myself!)

**This is my Five Minute Friday article. As usual, I got carried away.