As I have been reading Michele Cushatt’s latest book, Relentless, a question arose this week that left my heart uncovered and bare: Where have you seen the touch of God, this incarnate God coming to earth, through the touch of others in your life through the years?
A poem was stirred as I remembered …
To Feel The Touch
the touch on my wrist felt soft like wool floating over the swollen painful places the cry in my heart felt dark like a wall closing over love's last traces the memory came then as a phantom swimming before my eyes' vision there was one who had shared this crushing pain crashing in collision why had God joined my years' path living alongside another's pain when my future known only to Him sinking would fall like rain It was HIS touch after all preparing my way of seeing that God never shuts out but calling, His Love is the freeing. --bg
And I was suddenly back in my memories …
I was a young mother with two little ones, and another on the way, standing with the vacuum in my hand, preparing to clean the room of the dear woman my family was staying with. She had been forced to stay in bed that day, and while she expressed gratitude for my help, she told me about the symptoms of her disease. The pain and inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis had severely crippled her hands. Although there were days that her medication gave her energy and strength, there were days that nothing would help.
And I stood on the outside looking in.
The years rolled by, and I was back in the Midwest with my children, now teenagers, and I stood next to another woman. I had been called to intercede for her, to carry her heart to Jesus. I watched her massage her hands, and listen to her brief words that mentioned her disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but she spoke very little of how the symptoms affected her.
And I stood on the outside looking in.
One touch freely open to share the pain, and one touch shut away to hide the pain. Neither woman remained in my life for long. God sent our paths in different directions.
And yet, their touches remained as something so vivid that when the memories were stirred I knew the touches were gifts from God out of my past but planned for my future. Somehow God was asking me to look more closely at His gift of drawing us in, of touching our hearts, of touching our souls.
The years rolled on yet again, and my children were grown. I had recognized the gift being given to me by my Vietnamese daughter-in-law when she asked me to travel with her to Vietnam. Alone, just the two of us, I knew that only God would get us through the airports and customs, as she spoke little English, and I spoke no Vietnamese. But God gave us His miracles.
Not only did we arrive there safely, but I was awed by the family’s hospitality and love. They were awed by my health, as almost all Americans were usually ill during their first visits to the countryside there.
On the last night of my stay there, my daughter-in-law’s father told about a dream that he had had years before. In his dream, an older woman approached him and told him not to worry about his daughter. She was going to go with her far away, and she would make sure that she was well taken care of. … He told me he thought I was the woman in the dream.
And my heart cried out because I too had had a dream years before. I was whisked away to an Asian country, and stood in the middle of a group of dear ones sitting on the ground. As they looked up at me, a single light bulb shined overhead, and I was so thankful to be sharing the love of Jesus. That very scene had played out earlier during the trip, as I prayed for one of the family members.
But as I write this story, that dear father is facing his last days on earth. My heart has been forever changed and touched by the love of Jesus that I have carried for him and his family, as they all have become joined with my family now. Many of them have since moved to the U.S. and live with and close to my son and daughter-in-law.
How could these stories be inter-connected?
It is the touch of God that makes all the difference in our lives.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
While we, in our flesh, seek to isolate, to label, to hide our pain, God calls us out. His touch always joins us together, calls us to His love, and uncovers the places that need HIS healing.
He never hides. He never isolates. He never shuts away.
And my heart broke open with the mercy of His touch.
Just this week, as I am now in a place of failing health and chronic illness, my nerve block injections have pierced through the skin and muscles of the back of my head. But His compassions have been piercing through the shell of my heart.
Even as the medication has pulsed through the sinews of my scalp, the precious living water from the heart of Jesus has pulsed through to the heartbeat of my soul.
It is the touch of God that makes all the difference in my life.
I am not cut-off, I am not isolated, I am not hidden in my pain. No, because of Jesus, I have been called out to love, to share, and to offer the same grace that has been so freely poured over my life.
Poured from beginning to end, from the past to the future. He has been weaving His plans to transform my heart all along.
Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.Isaiah 25:1 NIV
Is there a pulsing pain in your heart today?
Have you felt isolated or cut-off from those who have stood apart from you?
I would love to pray with you today, my friend.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for breaking through the shell of this world and coming to be with us, to touch our lives. We stand in awe of the weaving and connecting that You have brought as You have allowed our lives to be touched by the lives of others. Forgive us for the times that we have pulled back from those touches, tried to hide from those touches, or even disdained those touches. It has always been YOU calling out to us from within the hearts of those You have brought to us. Help us to open our eyes and see the beauty of Your touch. Show us the ways that You always include us within Your love. Show us how to be people who step outside of our shells and draw in with the love You have given.
In Your precious name we pray,
**And for those of you dear friends who pray for me, I so appreciate every prayer, even as I begin the new RA infusions this coming Friday, March 13. May God’s be the touch I am so aware of again.**