As a teen I went to a local nursing home with a group of friends. I often lagged behind the others as they walked down the halls.
I wasn’t a good singer.
I didn’t know what to say, especially when the residents didn’t have words to express first.
One day a hand reached for mine. She held tight. Her skin sagged and felt papery thin, almost as if it might tear at my touch. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I couldn’t sing. It didn’t matter that I felt out of place.
There was power in simply touching another human being.
I almost take for granted how many times I’m touched each day. My husband reaching for a kiss in the morning before work. His arms around me as I stand in the kitchen.
A grand baby nestled under my chin, her soft hair wispy around my face. My mother who instantly reaches for me when I see her. My daughters who sit close.
But there’s another touch that I pray I’ll never take for granted.
Recently I met a new friend and we sat together as she told me her story: Drugs. Rehab. Failure. Children. Lost relationships.
Yet there was joy in her face. Because there was a second half to her story. She had reached out to God.
People had given up on her but He touched her. She had tried to find ways to numb the pain and nothing worked, but Jesus did.
We sat and praised God for how His touch continues to change her thoughts, take up residence in her broken places, and help her discover a whole new way to live.
There’s another woman who was touched by Jesus.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Mark 5:25-34 (NIV)
This woman found instant healing physically but we see that there’s more work to do. When Jesus looks around the crowd to see who was healed, she reacts in fear.
She was unclean. Everyone around her would tell her that she had no right to be touched by Jesus.
Except for one thing.
Our “unclean” status isn’t the primary factor. His holy touch is.
His touch overpowered cultural assumptions. It rocked doctor’s diagnoses that she’d never be well. It hurled every label that marked this woman’s life as far as the East is from the West.
He reached for her and helped her to stand tall.
Even that, touching her publicly, was part of the miracle. He was telling the whole world that she was worthy of touch.
A woman whose faith in Jesus made her well.
So today, I want to challenge you, my friend. I want you to reach out and touch someone today. Hold them close. Reach for the person’s hand who hasn’t been touched in weeks or years. Let the power of touch be a gift to someone else today. If you aren’t a hugging kind of girl, do it anyway.
But there’s a second challenge.
Open your heart to His touch. I don’t care what anybody says. You are not too broken. You are not too far gone. You aren’t beyond the miracle of His holy touch. What you said or did yesterday doesn’t eliminate you from His touch today.
Be that woman who reaches for the hem of His garment. In fact, let’s do it together and let His touch begin its holy work.