David: His surgery was only supposed to include a short hospital stay and some rehabilitation time. Nearly five months later, and after repeated surgeries to clean out infection, David remained hospitalized—several hours from home. As we walked into his hospital room, his eyes lit up, and a surprised smile spread across his face.
Randy: He had suddenly been taken ill, which started him on a whirlwind of emergency-room visits, hospital stays, home health care, and several near-death occurrences. Feeling helpless, hopeless, and defeated, his wife told us that Randy was starting to plan his funeral. Our visit could well have been what the doctor ordered to lift his spirits and to offer prayers of healing for him.
Teri: When we walked into the intensive care unit to see a friend, the nurse told us that she was sleeping. As I was writing a note to leave for her, Teri woke from her nap, and, after seeing us through her door window, she started waving and motioning for us to come in. Even though she could not speak because of the breathing apparatus, we held her hands, prayed, and assured her of our love.
Society marvels at modern science and medical advancements—and so it should. God has given mankind the ability to understand and develop many good things. At the same time, humans also choose to use technology for destructive purposes which are neither God-pleasing nor good for those created in His image.
Science and technology will never be able to take the place of the presence, touch, or relationship of another caring human being. Just a short internet search will result in a wave of studies documenting the emotional and physical need for touch. But we don’t need the internet or scientific studies to show us that.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’ … So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27 NIV).
Notice the pronoun “us.” Just as God the Father is in relationship with His Son and His Spirit—the Trinity (three Persons/One God)—we too, being created in God’s image, were created for relationships.
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit demonstrated their relationship throughout Scripture.
“‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’” (Luke 2:49 NIV).
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17 NIV).
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you … And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:1b, 5 NIV).
Jesus demonstrated relationship as He reached out and touched people throughout His short ministry on earth. With His hands or His presence, He touched, healed, saved, and showed His love and compassion. Jesus taught and demonstrated how to fill the human need for touch and relationship.
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy” (Matthew 8:3 NIV).
“And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them” (Mark 10:16 NASB).
“Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva” (Mark 7:33 NASB).
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’” (Matthew 25:34-36).
Perhaps some of you will recall the 1980s AT&T telephone ad slogan, “Reach out and touch someone.” Through God’s Word, Jesus taught us how to reach out and touch someone.
David, Randy, and Teri were all getting some of the best medical care that modern technology has available, but it cannot hold a candle to the touch and love of another caring human being.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to let Your love shine through us as Your hands and feet reaching out and touching those in need. Amen.