By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
How Does God Touch Us?
By Anne Peterson
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” - Psalm 73:23-24
Human touch is necessary for thriving. As a returning student, in a psychology class, I learned the importance of human touch. Some scientists separated a group of baby monkeys into two groups. Each group of monkeys was given their basic needs- food water, and rest. But while the monkeys in Group 2 did have all their physical needs met, one need was withheld— touch. The monkeys were not touched by the caregivers. The scientists believed there would be differences in the outcomes, but they were surprised to find that the monkeys who did not receive touch languished and actually died. We all need touch.
When I was a child, if I had a fever, my mother would gently feel my brow. I knew my mom loved me, but she wasn’t someone to physically show it. I still remember one time telling her, “I think I have a headache.” Confusing headaches with fevers, I hoped for a tender touch. It’s a basic need we all have.
Jesus Touched the Children
When children saw Jesus, they were drawn to him. And though the disciples thought the children would be bothersome, and they tried to shoo the children away, Jesus rebuked his disciples and welcomed the little ones. I’m sure he would have been smiling as he touched each precious little head and blessed them.
There’s something about touch that goes deep into our souls. When we’re hurting and we feel someone’s hand on our shoulder, we feel cared for, less alone, and the burden we are bearing somehow seems more bearable. I imagine Jesus lovingly touching others. He even touched those others saw as untouchable. Everyone was touchable to Jesus.
God Touches Our Soul
I often think of the hymn, He Touched Me, by the Gaither Vocal Band, talking about how it feels to be touched by the Lord.
He touched me/ Oh, He touched me/ And oh, the joy that fills my soul/ Something happened, and now I know He touched me and made me whole.
God Takes Our Hand
God tells us in Isaiah 41:10 that He will uphold us with His right hand. Touch lets another person know that he/she is not alone. God knows when we face difficult circumstances, we’re tempted to feel overwhelmed. We focus on our big problems instead of looking at how big and powerful our God is. Yet, God is able to help us with anything we face.
Touch Brings Healing
One woman was following a large crowd of people. She was determined to see Jesus. She had heard he heals people, something she needed. She suffered from an issue of blood for years. If she could just see Jesus, she thought, maybe get close enough to touch him, maybe she would be healed. And when she managed to touch the hem of his garment, Jesus actually felt power leave him and he asked his disciples, “Who touched me?”
The disciples were surprised by Jesus’ question since he was surrounded by so many people. But the woman was healed. Jesus touched people wherever he went.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
What about you? In what way do you need God’s touch? You don’t have to face things alone. We are invited to go to God’s throne room, and God will supply grace for us. God loves the world, but He responds to each of us individually. God is all-powerful and omnipresent, which means He is present everywhere at the same time. He is with me, the same time He is with you. How amazing is that? And you can reach out and take His extended hand, whenever you need to.
Our Father’s Hand
A child holds his father’s hand
without a single care.
Their journey doesn’t matter,
for he knows his father’s there.
When trials overwhelm us,
may we be like this child,
and simply take our Father’s hand
and walk with Him awhile.
© Anne Peterson 2008
Father God, I come before you, with gratefulness. Thank you for your promise that you will never leave us. Thank you for your touch in our lives. And Lord, thank you that you hold our hands whenever we need you. Remind us of your presence, Lord. Thank you for your faithfulness. I pray this in Your Son’s precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Reading:
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Boonyachoat
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published a book entitled He Whispers: Poetic talks with God. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
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