Ann and I have had a simple practice for a long time. Before we say ‘good-night’ we always read a chapter from the Bible and open the greatest songbook ever compiled. It houses 1030 songs, hymns, and bits and pieces of the Word. It gives author of both words and lyrics and the date of their composition, some dating back hundreds of years. The book, compiled and edited by Alton H. Howard, includes some of Howard’s own songs. I look up to him with the greatest of reverence.
He wrote the song, “I Believe in Jesus” and the words tell the simple story. “I believe in the one they called Jesus, I believe he stilled storm Galilee; I believe that he walked on the water, and I believe he’s the answer for me.” “I believe in the words of the Bible, how he made the poor blind man to see; I believe that the deaf ears were opened, and I believe he made a difference in me.” “I believe that he spoke to dead Lazarus, and he said, “unbind and set free”; I believe that he reigns up in heaven, and I believe that he’s coming again.” (Chorus) “Yes, I believe in the one they called Jesus, I believe he died on mount Calvary; and I believe that the tomb was found empty, and I believe that he’s the answer for me.”
When I was on the ‘SPEAKER’S TOUR‘, I always enjoyed telling the story found in Luke 8:43-48. Right or wrong I could not help but add to the story a bid of back ground. A woman was sick and had been bleeding for twelve years. She had exhausted all her funds on doctors and none could help her in her terrible illness. She was desperate and depressed. There was no place to turn.
I could imagine some of her unbelieving relatives saying, “We hear this man called Jesus is coming to our town. Tell us ‘Martha’, what do you plan to do when he comes? Will you climb a tree like the little Jew did, or call out ‘Unclean, Unclean’ like the ten who had leprosy? “Tell us your plan, we promise we won’t laugh at you.”
She looked about with an uneasy feeling, but proceeded on to relate her special plan for healing. “I know there will be crowds around Him, but I believe that if I could but touch the hem of his garment, I’d be healed.” A roar of laughter was the response as she hung her head in humiliation and shame.
The day came and the Lord was moving slowly through the crowd. All at once he stopped and said, “WHO TOUCHED ME“. Poor Simon Peter tried to explain the situation, “Lord, many are pressing around you and what do you mean, “Who touched me?” Jesus persisted and again demanded, “Someone touched me for I felt power going out from me.”
The crowd was great but the woman knew she could not hide. She was trembling when she knelt down in front of Jesus, and said, “I TOUCHED YOU, LORD! I thought if I could but touch the helm of your garment, I would be healed”. Jesus gave her the benediction and said, “Daughter be of good comfort, your faith has made you whole.”
I wonder as you read this column who reaches forth to touch Him today? Forget the crowd – He knows!
The great singer and song writer William Gaither wrote about touching in 1963, “Shackled by a heavy burden, ‘neath a load of guilt and shame; then the hand of Jesus touched me, and I am no longer the same. Since I met this blessed Savior, since he cleansed and made me whole; I will never cease to praise Him, I’ll shout it while eternity rolls. (Chorus) He touched me, Oh He touched me, and Oh the joy that floods my soul; something happened and now I know, He touched me and made me whole”.
Beloved Ann gave me a poem years ago. It has been a hallmark in my old worn New Testament ever since. It is entitled, “Touch me“.
Touch me in the morning when night still clings,
Touch me at midday when confusion crowds around me.
Touch me in the evening when I hear and see you best of all.
Touch me at night when I can’t see you but know you are there.
Touch me with your hands and also with your eyes,
Touch me with your words and with your thoughts.
Touch me with your presence in the room,
Touch me when I wait for you to come and soon.
Touch me like a child who is strong enough to give,
Touch me like a mother who brought life into the world.
Touch me like a father, who’s rough and callous hands
Often touch things instead of people.
Touch me when I asked you to,touch me when I am
Afraid to asked you too; touch me gentle, I’m so fragile,
Touch me firmly, I’m so strong.
But most important, touch me often; for without your touch
I feel so alone. (Author unknown)
Look up, look down, look all around and just find someone to touch.