Thousands of heart-rending situations are occurring around the world where the Covid-19 virus is separating loved ones from each other in their time of need. One such account, was the story of Gene and Dorothy Campbell who have been together for 60 years. Gene, age 89, who had the corona virus, was isolated inside the Life Care Center in Washington State. Dorothy, age 88, could only stand outside his window to be near him. Due to isolation policies and social distancing, people are losing the benefits of the healing power of touch. Please read more…..
Dorothy Campbell speaks to her husband in a care facility through a window. Picture by Reuters
We live in an age of endless social media. In one respect, social media does help us stay in contact with our friends, especially with those who live a long distance away. I do, however, find it ironic that despite our access to social media, what we want most during this time of mandated social distancing is to be physically present with those we care about. No amount of social media can replace the power of personal presence and touch. In fact, some research shows that social media accentuates feelings of isolation. Generally speaking, social media interactions are shallow.
Touch is one of the first senses available to us. Even before we open our eyes as newborn babies, we can already feel a touch and physical presence. Touch is a key element in the bonding between mother and child. Touch continues to play a critical role in our health and well-being throughout life.
Why is touch so important? Physical touch causes our brain to release oxytocin, which has come to be known as the feel-good and happiness hormone. Oxytocin also helps promote optimism about life. Touch also increases our levels of dopamine and serotonin which helps to regulate our mood and relieve anxiety. Medical science has also revealed that physical touch improves the function of our immune system and reduces diseases. Yet, another study conducted with retired elderly people, showed that loneliness and the lack of touch is the most accurate indicator for an individual’s life duration.
Knowing all these positive aspects of touch, it is no wonder that Jesus often used the power of touch to heal people. Mark 6:53-56 tells us that the people “scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. They “begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.”
We see a glimpse of mandated social distancing in the Biblical accounts of the lepers. They were exiled to the caves outside the city. In Matthew 8:2-3 we read, “And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus then “stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.'” His leprosy was cleansed immediately.”
It was through touch that the Canaanite woman, the blind, the man with the withered hand, the paralytic, Jairus’ daughter, the woman with the hemorrhage, the boy with a demon, the Gerasene demoniac, and the deaf man were healed.
It was their faith that healed these people. Jesus heals those who want His healing. Some healing is physical, while many more are spiritual. The key to receive His healing is to have faith and trust in Him.
Clearly Jesus is the Divine Physician. When he spat in the dirt, He created a medical salve, which when applied, gave sight to the blind man. Now that Jesus is risen, we are the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth. He wants us to go out and touch others and bring them, physical, spiritual and emotional healing. Through our touch, Jesus stands ready to heal broken bodies, broken spirits, and broken hearts.
In 1970, Diana Ross released the giant hit, Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand. Contained in the song were these lyrics, “make this world a better place if you can.” In 1979, AT&T had a hugely successful ad campaign with the slogan “Reach out and touch someone.”
Take a moment and sing along with the uplifting video, Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand.
I started this message with the story of Gene Campbell. I am happy to report, based on a news story, that Gene has recovered. Perhaps it was his wife’s presence at the window that gave him the strength to recover.
Once this pandemic is over and the social distancing rules have been relaxed, many people who were negatively impacted will need the comfort of a healing touch. Let’s be prepared to go forth, with Christ in our hearts, to touch and impact the lives of others. Let’s “make this world a better place if we can.”
Heavenly Father give me the courage to reach out and touch those who are in need with the faith and confidence that through my touch Jesus can comfort and heal them, amen.
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.