The Touch of Love

A child standing by a brick wall

A divine appointment is a meeting with a person that has been arranged by God. I often wonder how many of these sacred meetings I’ve missed because I was distracted, too busy or for some reason didn’t want to get involved. Christ had an undeniable touch of love when he reached out and showed compassion, touching those who had leprosy, the blind or the lame. He even felt a touch of desperation when the woman who was bleeding reached for his robe.

Are you uncomfortable about reaching out to show love with a touch of compassion?

On one of my first mission trips, Christ arranged a divine appointment for me at a Catholic orphanage in Ethiopia with a two-year-old.

Caring nun with childrenThis orphanage had over a hundred children from newborn to young adults. It was unique in that both their parents had died from AIDS and all the children had AIDS. The Nun who led the orphanage was a powerful lady. She had developed an amazing schedule that was coordinated so that each age group would receive their AIDS medication daily under her supervision.

A child standing by a brick wall

The rooms were separated by age, and when we entered the room with the two-year-olds, they were all sitting on a mat receiving their oatmeal. They impatiently waited to be given permission to get up and run to us. One of the children had a non-threatening viral illness and although it looked awful, it was not contagious. It covered his entire body and face which prompted our team to step back as he ran toward us. I quickly stepped forward so he would not perceive the rejection from our team.

He jumped into my arms and pressed his tiny cheek against mine; I have never been hugged with such love as from this sweet little boy. Immediately, my wife Karen asked what was wrong with him. Trying to hold back tears, I reassured her that it was not dangerous. It was obvious that many had refused to hold him because of the way he looked.

I thought about how often we are reluctant about reaching out to those we meet because of a predetermined judgment due to their appearance. This keeps us from showing love and compassion when we see through our worldly eyes and not through Christ’s eyes.

Caretaker with elderly manI Samuel 16:7: . . . The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Have you found it difficult to comfort someone with disfiguring cancer and missing the internal suffering with a desperate need of compassion?

Have you found it hard to hug someone in a nursing home whose mind maybe lost, but still desire the human need for the touch of love?

Destitute man

Have you withdrawn your touch from someone who is homeless because of their appearance or their living conditions without knowing their story?

How powerful is the touch of love to someone who is desperate for compassion or more importantly, how devastating when we refuse to hold out our hand with the love of Christ.

Christ reminds us that he reaches out to us, broken as we are from sin, with scarred hands. His model of serving was to wash the feet of his disciples, which is an overwhelming powerful act of love and humility.

An example of living Matthew 25:31-46, which tells us to care for the suffering, is demonstrated  by the early church when it grew by caring for the sick. Sociologist Rodney Stark wrote a brilliant book, The Rise of Christianity, in which he describes how Christianity arose from a small group of caring Christians to become the dominant force of the Roman Empire. He shows that the two great epidemics in the first centuries were an example of God using a devastating health disaster to expand the Kingdom of Heaven. With the love and care from Christians there was a good chance they would survive. The Christians continued to love and care for their own family members as well as those who were left behind. This showed that the willingness to care for the sick at their own risk resulted in  large numbers of people in the Roman Empire turning to Christ.

They bore the persecution with such radiant power that their response served as a great attraction to people. As history has shown us, where persecution is highest and Christians remain strong in their faith with the message of love, the Kingdom expands.

This is the reason Teach To Transform’s model of empowering indigenous believers in the hardest places where persecution is extreme is so powerful. The lost and suffering who are treated by the Christians with TTT medical training and fed with Farming God’s Way will not remember our team. Long after we leave they will remember those who stepped up to care for them with a touch of compassion to share the love of Christ with the message of the Gospel.

Please visit our website and join us and support our efforts to bring these courageous pastors to our training around the world.

For His Glory,
Tom

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