By Dr. Harold Sala
Jesus reached out His hand and touched… Luke 5:13
When Elisabeth Elliot was visiting Dohnavur fellowship in South India to do research for a book on the life of Amy Carmichael, she met a remarkable woman who was working with the mentally challenged.
The woman herself was greatly handicapped by the loss of one eye. “I have no professional training,” she explained, adding, “The Holy Spirit gives me new wisdom each day to deal with them. Some are like wild animals but the Lord Himself is my helper. I can’t see on one side, but even in my weakness He has helped me.”
When Elizabeth Elliot inquired as to how she had become involved in such a work, Pungaja explained that one day, tremendously burdened by life, she went to Amy Carmichael, who was affectionately known as “Amma” by nationals of India.
“When she hugged me,” she said, “all my burdens went away!” The Indian men and women who followed in her footsteps serving others have been a powerful witness to the life of Amy Carmichael. “When she hugged me, all my burdens went away!”
Is it any wonder that the suffering and neglected of our world will line up for this kind of love? Have you ever considered the impact of a loving touch? When Jesus was here, there were times when He dispelled sickness with a mere command. He spoke the Word and sickness yielded to healing and health.
But there were other occasions when He reached out and touched someone, at times going out of His way to express love through the touch of His hand.
He touched the leper who went through life crying, “Unclean, unclean!” He touched the blind man by the gate of Jericho, and He still touches those who are pushed aside by society today.
In recent years medical science discovered that there is healing in the power of a touch. Karl Menninger, the renowned psychiatrist, demonstrated that mentally challenged individuals respond far more when there is some physical contact between them and therapists.
One recently published article in a medical journal pointed out that patients with heart attacks stabilize far more quickly when someone who loves them is present to hold their hand. It has also been demonstrated that Cerebral Palsy victims move more normally after receiving sensory stimulation.
People do respond to the loving touch.
A family counselor says that most unwanted teen-age pregnancies could have been prevented if a father had only hugged his teen-age daughter every day. “Four hugs a day” is the prescription for good mental health which comes one doctor.
“Is any one of you sick?” asked James as he wrote to the infant church, almost 2000 years ago, “He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).
There is healing in a touch of love and faith. It all begins with love as we reach out and touch someone else. It is the hand of love that lifts the burdens of someone else and gives the person the courage to press on.
“Now it is my joy to serve these very difficult people,” explained the woman ministering to mentally handicapped people when she herself had but one eye. It is the touch of love that makes all the difference.
A phone company encourages subscribers to use the long-distance service by advertising, “Reach out and touch someone…” That’s applied Christianity.
Yes, in love, reach out and touch someone today.
Resource reading: Luke 5:1-26
Dr. Harold J. Sala is an internationally known radio commentator, author of more than 40 books, Bible teacher, lecturer, husband, and grandfather of eight. His is also the founder of Guidelines International Ministries which is heard on over 1,000 radio stations in 17 languages, reaching more than 100 countries. He and his wife Darlene (also an author) make their home in Mission Viejo, California. ASSIST News Service www.assistnews.net