Touch is one of the greatest sensations of human need. Medical experts tell us that a baby or child that does not experience touch from human hands will die in a short period of time. I have seen first hand the affect lost touch has on adults as well. During my first trip to India, I was taken to a leper colony. I was terrified of the experience simply because I did not know what to expect. Once we stepped through the gates of the colony, we were greeted by those whose bodies had been ravaged by leprosy. Some were missing limbs, fingers, and toes, while others were missing facial features of recognition that left them deformed. As I stood there debating in my heart what to do, a man with no fingers, ears, or nose came and stood before me. I thought to myself, “Jesus touched the lepers.” Going against the grain of my frail humanity, I threw my arms around the man. Instantly, my shirt was soaked with his tears. He then spoke words that brought my interpreter to tears as well. I asked what it was he was trying to say to me, and my interpreter said, “He is trying to tell you that you are the first person to touch him in over twenty years!” He not only had lost outward identity, but he was withering away internally from a lack of intimate touch.
In first Samuel 10, when Saul is anointed as king of Israel, verse 26 records an interesting detail, “…and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.” As I think about the economic crisis and political chaos in the world today, our greatest need is not men with more money, more education, more power, or more creativity. We stand desperately in need of “a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.” Perhaps the subtle danger we find in a society obsessed with professionalism and being politically correct is the fact we can no longer discern the difference between charisma and anointing. We have confused those who can wow the audience with those who can woo the soul. Charisma merely entertains the heart, but true anointing will arrest the heart! The difference is found in God’s touch, and God’s touch will mark a man as different. Jacob was touched and never walked the same again. Isaiah was touched and never spoke the same again. Nehemiah was touched and never led the same again. Charles Finney once said, “I have never met a person filled with the Holy Spirit that the world did not consider eccentric.” Just what will it mean to your life to have the touch of the Lord?
It will mean the fresh awareness of His presence. In first Kings 19, Elijah was sitting discouraged beneath a juniper tree despairing for his life when the angel of the Lord came and touched him not just once but twice. His heart had lost the conscious awareness of the Lord’s presence with him, and with a fresh touch he found renewed courage and strength to finish his task. One sure evidence of the Lord’s presence in our lives is the adjustment it brings to our lives. His touch fills our weaknesses with strength, but it also affirms the forgiveness of our wickedness. In Acts 4, Peter and John are no longer cowards running away, but rather are walking with courage, confidence, and conviction. They were arrested for their faith, and once the council was through hearing their defense we are told, “…they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” If our hair is freshly styled it tells others we have been with a barber. If we have stitches it tells others we have been with a doctor. However, it is the lingering aroma of Jesus on our lives that tells someone we have been with Him! If you were to tell others you have been with Jesus, is there enough evidence of His fragrance on you to convict you with arrest?
It will mean the firm assurance of His power. In Luke 22, Peter rushed to the defense of Jesus and cuts off the ear of Malchus. We are told in verse 51 that Jesus “…touched his ear, and healed him.” In the touch of Jesus on our lives the miraculous becomes a possibility. However, this raises a good question to ponder. Does this special touch of His power only exist on the lives of ministers? In Scripture, Jesus reserved the overwhelming majority of His touches for the common person of life. Whether it was the leper, the blind, the fever-stricken, or the casket of a dead son, Jesus provided a touch that had no human explanation. Adrian Rogers used to say, “As long we can be explained, we have no right to be believed.” Our churches today have ministers, missions, and money, but I cry out with Gideon, “….where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of…?” Our lives and churches have been reduced to cheap substitutes that cannot satisfy. We have replaced Shekinah with shenanigans. We have traded spirituality for sensuality. We have given up travailing for trivialities. We have pursued happiness over holiness. We have surrendered power for the sake of performance. May the Lord raise up men and women in our generation who will dare to turn the lights back on that we can see His power displayed again!
It will mean the flowing advancement of His plan. In Mark 10:13, parents brought their children to Jesus “…that He should touch them.” Verse 16 then adds, “And He…put His hands upon them, and blessed them.” Have you ever wondered what became of those children? We do not know if they became doctors, lawyers, or preachers, but I think it is safe to say if they remained dependent on His touch, they lived blessed lives! When both Saul and Uzziah were living under a fresh touch of the Lord, their lives were fruitful and full. However, once they lost their dependence on the Lord, their lives were marred with foolishness and failure. Those who choose to live on yesterday’s anointing find that life no longer flows, but rather is forced. Life becomes a series of frustrations in which bricks are made without straw, and trees are chopped with handles absent of ax heads. The resulting consequence is brittle bricks, bloodied hands, and bruised trees. Scottish novelist George Macdonald was right when he said, “in whatever man does without God, he must either fail miserably, or succeed more miserably.” A man may climb the ladder of success without the Lord, but his arrival will be to a destination where his character can no longer sustain him.
Just when was the last time the Lord touched you? Losing the conscious awareness of His touch can be a very painless thing. Samson stood to fight, “and he knew not” that the Lord’s touch was gone. Joseph and Mary loaded the caravan and were gone a day’s journey, and “knew not” that Jesus was absent. A tree may fall to the ground and the leaves will still remain green…for a while. The truth is, without His touch, we may already be withering away and do not even know it!
Your Most Proud Pastor,
© 2009 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.