“My skin screams to be touched!” a single man cried to me. He’d been living alone and that’s how deeply he longed to feel close to someone.
Research has shown that we all need hugs, handshakes, kisses, back rubs, or being present with a family member or friend to be healthy physically and emotionally. Without loving touch, babies die. It’s the same for souls of all ages.
So these coronavirus times are quite disruptive. To stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus we’re self-quarantining and social distancing (keeping six feet apart). This is loving our neighbors, especially those who are vulnerable. But it hurts our souls.
The skin of your soul screams for the touch of God’s love!
Yes, in a sense your soul has skin. That’s because your soul is embodied. So it’s not just your body that longs for comforting touches it’s your whole person.
As Kristi and I shared in this week’s “Soul Talks” podcast (“Turning Social Distancing into Solitude with Jesus”), the touch your soul longs for can’t be met from watching social media and movies, eating healthy food, or doing any number of entertainments or projects.
Your soul-bodied person is designed by God to overflow with divine life like a stream of water (John 7:37-39).
Often words from the Bible can touch our soul with the Spirit of Grace. Appreciating being in nature can bathe our soul with God’s beauty. Many people feel God’s love through their cat or dog. Prayers, even from a distance, touch our souls in ways beyond our knowledge.
The most common way we experience the warmth of God’s loving presence is being with people who offer a hug, empathy, kindness, encouraging words, a helping hand.
But with the fear, isolation, and shame that COVID-19 brings you might feel like a leper in Jesus’ day.
Luke tells a story about a leper who was desperate for God’s touch. He was totally socially isolated. He was wracked with shame. He felt untouchable, unloveable. If he dared to walk outside his dwelling he had to yell, “I’m unclean!” But when he saw Jesus he fell to the ground and cried out for mercy.
“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” He was healed! He was restored to community! (Luke 5:12-16).
“Touch” and “hand” are common words in the Gospels (used 152 times). On page after page we see our Lord blessing people with the touch of his hand, his words, his compassionate presence.
The Spirit of Jesus is present to touch your soul right now. Let’s imagine ourselves with Jesus as he touches the leper to heal him. Let’s breathe in the divine health that Jesus Christ offers:
Breathe in slowly and deeply to receive Jesus’ touch of love . . .
Breathe out to release any stress or sickness . . .
You’ll be blessed to repeat this Breath Prayer and then share it with your friends! This Prayer and others are available in our Breath Prayer Guides.
We’ve also gathered some of our most relevant, free resources on this landing page. We pray they would encourage you and refocus your mind and heart back on God!
Listen to today’s SoulTalk: It can be tempting to fill the time we have these days with distractions, but this is a significant opportunity to draw closer to Jesus. Solitude surfaces our needs, emotions, and sin so that we can bring it into Jesus’ presence. Catch a vision for solitude in Christ’s presence to strengthen your soul in the midst of social distancing.