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Healing Touch: How to Use Our Hands for the Lord
Growing up, I was an awkward kid. I'd love to be able to say I was confident with lots of good friends, but I wasn't. It didn't get much better in college either. Perhaps it was because I wasn't one of the "cool" kids, but more than likely it was because I was very shy and introverted. One of the things I noticed while still in junior high that made me different was how everyone else always seemed to know exactly what to say in any given situation. Not me, though. It seemed I never had the words I needed when I needed them. The next day I'd think of all kinds of great things I should have said, but never in the moment they would have been appropriate.
Teenage girls have lots to say. Although most of it probably isn't worth talking about, that doesn't stop them from saying it. Teenagers also love to be around others who like to talk as much as they do. At school, I was the quiet one with my head stuck in a book. Just because I wasn't participating in all the gossip going on around me, doesn't mean I didn't hear it. I heard girls talking in the bathroom, at the lunch table, and while riding the school bus to and from school. It seemed they never ran out of things to say.
In college, it seemed there was a time to talk and a time to be quiet, even with close friends. I found it easier to visit more with friends while in college, but when a friend would share their troubles with me and ask for my advice, I was most often at a loss for anything I felt would be beneficial. Instead, I would reach out and gently hug them so they would know that even though I didn't have mountain-moving words of wisdom, at least I was there and I cared about them. Maybe if we were close friends, I would take their hand in mine to show them they weren't alone. That's what friends do; they provide moral support to each other when morale is low. It's what helps to cement close relationships. Being able to touch someone is a gift; I just didn't know it at the time. I still felt like that same awkward kid, wishing I knew what to say and feeling less because of it.
Trying to Tap into My Talent
As I matured into adulthood, I began trying to figure out more about what my talents were and how I should be using them. Like in the parable of the talents, I knew I had been given at least one talent, but what was it? And when I learned what it was, how should I use it for the benefit of God's kingdom? This was a tough question I asked myself frequently.
I tried to do what I could in the meantime. I made friends, laughed, and enjoyed life. But what was my talent? God has given us all at least one talent, and to some He gave more. Once I was able to identify one (dare I say) small talent, I was able to identify other possible talents as well. I can't do many things, and don't consider myself to be a talented individual. However, God needs every person to do whatever it is they are good at. Let others do what they are gifted in, and all the important work will get done if we all work together to do it.
The talent I discovered was my talent to be the comforter. Was someone hurting? I would go to them and wrap my arms around them. Was someone feeling alone? I tried to touch their shoulder or shake their hand to assure them someone was there and was glad to see them. I used the talent that was first noticed by my college friends and tried to water it to help it grow. I may not have been able to comfort someone with my words, or be able to bestow valuable wisdom to others, but I could use my touch.
In my mid-thirties, I ran upon some tough times when I withdrew into myself and decided to stay there (even though of course I didn't). I was working in the billing office of the local ambulance service as well as working in a part-time capacity as an EMT there. I wasn't able to work as an EMT very long because of health reasons, but it was a life-changing experience that I'm glad to have been blessed with.
On the days I would report for my EMT shift, I would spend my drive to work in prayer. I would always pray for two things: the safety of my fellow workers, police and firemen, and for those who may be driving to the hospital to be with someone they love, and secondly, that I would be able to help at least one person in the next 24-hours of my shift. I may be giving someone directions to the closest gas station or reassuring a frightened parent that their child was in the capable hands of the paramedic I would be working with. It didn't matter to me; I just wanted to help somebody.
I learned that by touching the patient, they were comforted and some of their fright or anxiety could be alleviated by a caring presence. It didn't matter if it was a scared two-year-old girl or a 97-year-old gentleman, a gentle touch did much to help them. I was trying to use my talent.
I mentioned that I had withdrawn into my shell on a personal level, and that was true. When I was a crew member on the ambulance, I was able to be someone else; a more confident version of myself was present. But when I was off-duty and in my own skin again, I became a bit of a recluse for a while. I was hurting and learning to heal my emotions.
In addition to my family and my sweet coworkers, I found comfort in the friendships of women I had met at the local congregation. They made me laugh and they shared their lives with me. One Wednesday night a few of us were sitting together for the devotional. As the closing prayer began, one of them reached over and took my hand to pray. In all honesty, I have no idea what the man said who was praying. Tears welled in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks in small rivers. It had been so long since a friend had done something as simple as holding my hand during a prayer, and I hadn't realized how much I had missed it. It was just a touch of a friend, but I remember it as clearly now, years later, as I did then. In that instant, I felt loved and accepted.
Jesus Touched the Untouchable
In the gospel of Mark 1:40-45, Jesus was encountered by a man with leprosy. According to the Law, this man had to live outside of town, could not go to the synagogue, and was considered to be "unclean". To have any contact with this man would cause the other person to also be unclean until they were cleansed according to the Jewish Law.
The leper came to Jesus and begged him on his knees to heal him. The part of the account I want to focus on is in verse 41, where Mark writes, "Jesus had compassion on the man. He reached out his hand and touched the man" and healed him of his leprosy.
Jesus touched the untouchable because of his compassion! Oh, what that touch must have meant to that leper! How long had it been since he had any physical contact at all? How alone, unloved, and hopeless was this man with the terrible skin disease? I don't know, but the Great Physician touched him, made him well, and completely changed his life.
If Jesus would touch a leper, what should I be called to do?
Because our Savior cared about the lost, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I should too.
What is your talent? Do you also have the talent to show compassion to others by your touch? Are you an excellent cook or an outstanding speaker? Maybe you're an excellent mechanic or administrative assistant. Whatever your talent is, be sure to use it for God's glory.
I certainly hope you don't think I feel above my station or think I've done something great. My prayer is that you will see I am just like you, and am working with you to accomplish our Lord's work.
What is Your Talent?
I would love to hear what you think your talent is. We all have one. I didn't realize what some of mine may be until I found myself writing them down in a journal. It takes all of us! Let's encourage each other.
© 2017 Diana Majors