“And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them…” -Luke 18:15
Webster defines touch as the ability “to handle or feel gently, usually with the intent to understand or appreciate.” Bill Gather wrote a song in 1964 called “He touched me”. The main chorus reads, “He touched me, oh, He touched me. And oh, the joy that floods my soul…”. Research would suggest that there is always a byproduct of touch. Something always “floods our soul” afterwards. And it is absolutely necessary if we’re to be healthy.
Research on newborns reinforce this need for touch. A baby’s sight and hearing are affected by the degree of touch and stimulation in the early years. The famous Romanian orphanage studies showed delayed psychological and physiological development in babies who are not touched in unstaffed orphanages in Romania in the 1970’s and 80’s. Kids were rescued but the delays were evident.
According to Attachment theory (which is really not a theory anymore), “the most important tenet of attachment theory is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for the child’s successful social and emotional development, and in particular for learning how to effectively regulate their feelings.” In the Romanian orphanages, children had grown accustomed to neglect in early infancy. Because of the struggle to form emotional attachment to others, such as adoptive parents, children had trouble adapting to their new lives after being adopted.
The great news is that healing happens! Even for those who have had attachment deficiency, touch makes a huge difference. In God’s realm of influence (which is pretty wide, to say the least), the healing of the soul is possible. It’s not just the snap of a finger (though God can produce miracles any way He likes,) but typically a progression of healing through the love and touch of family, neighbors, friends, and God. All those variables are important, with the touch of our wonderful Savior God being the most crucial. Somehow, they all tie in together. That’s why God proclaimed in Genesis Chapter Two that, “It’s not good that man should be alone.” And, of course, God took care of that problem.
During these COVID days (and beyond), it’s important that we all keep reaching out to touch and be touched. Sometimes it can’t be physically, but it can always be emotionally, even from a distance.
When your soul is stirred (and it will be), make that phone call or type that email or send that text. Let your friends and neighbors know where you are and how you’re doing. And check on them as well.
Most importantly, when your spirit is stirred, say that prayer. Be a pray-er that prays unceasingly (1 Thess. 5:17). Stay connected to our wonderful God through the amazing privilege of prayer.
Touch is indeed a beautiful thing. We have the privilege of touching those around us through building up and encouraging them. We also have the opportunity of being touched ourselves by allowing others into our souls.
May we practice Mark 12:31 and “love our neighbors as ourselves”. Provide love and let them love us as well. It’s a beautiful picture of synchronized touch.
…as we touch and are being touched.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©