The Power of Touch

I was recently afflicted with that dreaded virus-which-shall-not-be-named (Covid). As soon as I started feeling bad, I went to my room away from the rest of my family. As soon as I had a positive diagnosis, I was advised to spend 5 days in quarantine. So I spent 5 days shut up in my room, away from my family. Where I was close enough to hear them and see them if the door was opened, but couldn’t hang out with them or hug them. And I know that 5 days isn’t much compared what some people have had to undergo. But as I sat and wished I could be getting snuggles from my kiddos, I got to thinking about the power of human touch.

Did you know that hugs don’t just make you feel good, but are actually good for you? According to Select Health, hugs release oxytocin (feel good hormone), combat cortisol (stress hormone), and even help ward off illness. Even a simple squeeze of the hand can make a difference.

Think about Jesus. Think about the times He helped or healed people, and physically touched them. He had the power, as we saw with the centurion’s servant in Luke 7, to heal with a word from afar. But so many times, we see Him touch those He healed.

  • The blind man in John 9. Jesus made clay with His own saliva and placed it on the eyes of the blind man. A man who people passed by and ignored every day, Jesus touched.
  • The leper in Matthew 8. Jesus put out His hand and told him to be cleansed. This was a man who would have been cast out of the community for being unclean, but Jesus touched him.
  • The deaf-mute man in Mark 7. Jesus put His fingers in his ears and touched his tongue. A man who would have had trouble communicating his needs, Jesus touched.
  • The servant of the high priest in John 18. This crowd had come to arrest Jesus, and in His defense, Peter cut the servants ear off. Jesus touched this man and healed him, even as He was being arrested.

Jesus understood how much it means to be touched. Especially for people who were often overlooked or ignored.

I don’t have Jesus’s miraculous healing power. But I do know the power of touch. There was nothing that made me feel better than that first day out of quarantine and getting hugs from my children. And how many times have you been sad or upset, and there is nothing that can be done to change your situation, but a long hug from a friend made you feel better? We are social creatures. We weren’t meant to go through life alone. We were given friends and family to love and care about. And part of showing love and care is physical touch.

So give all the hugs. Handshakes, high fives, fist bumps. Boost your mood, lower your stress, and make someone else feel good, too.

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