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A Hug From God

Touch. That’s a word I am very familiar with. Anybody who has spent even just a day with me can tell you that I like to touch a lot. Not in any inappropriate way of course. It’s my love language; a simple tap from me, or a hug is my way of showing people that I feel comfortable around them and that I care for them. 

 

Many people really like that about me. Many people find it peculiar. Some people just think it is straight up annoying, which, if I’m being honest, is a feeling probably warranted… who would have thought that not everyone’s love language is not touch, right?

 

But what purposes does touch serve? Well, it could be used to get someone’s attention. Touch is used to console someone who is grieving. A quick slap on the butt during a baseball game lets the player know he’s done a good job. It’s used to share intimate moments with a partner.

 

What about touch being used to minister the gospel and share the love of Jesus? Ever prayed or heard people pray things like, “Father God, I just need a touch from you?” Our team in Jamaica found out one morning what exactly that “touch” looks like…

 

 

One morning, our team of ten set out into a new part of Spanish Town, Jamaica to do some community outreach. The days before, we had been to several areas around town having conversations with locals, getting to know their stories and sharing the love of Jesus with them. We encountered many people during those days, however this recent morning we had barely seen anyone.

 

I heard the Lord speak over me, “Tyler, don’t worry about the quantity. Focus on the quality.”

 

So, I stopped my team and shared with them what Holy Spirit had put on my heart. They confirmed, quality over quantity.

 

As we walked along, we had few conversations with the residents, but they were solid and full of life. Right as we were heading back to the church for lunch, we ran into a man named Camien.

 

He held a threaded bag full of cups and bowls he had created himself out of the things of nature. A small group of our girls surrounded him as he was sharing about his art. I stood near the back and just listened. The girls were so wonderful, making him feel important and loved by listening and complementing his creations.

 

 

Then, as I was standing there, I got this vision of me hugging Camien, then tears flooding down his face when I pulled away. As quickly as the vision left, I received a phone call from Hope, our field support person (and personal friend) back at the office. I needed to take the call in case of an emergency situation. But as I broke off the group to talk to her, I couldn’t shake the vision.

 

So, I told Emily (one of our girls), “Hey, I think that that man really needs a hug or some kind of touch right now.” Then I went back to talking to Hope. What I didn’t know was that in the meantime, the girls were laying hands on Camien and praying for him. Once we left Camien and I had finished speaking to Hope (she was just checking in with me btw), the team informed me that Camien had cried as they were laying hands and praying. Then Emily told me that she had hugged him and that he had told her, “I will always remember that hug.”

 

I was in awe. I quickly shared with the group what Holy Spirit had shown me right before that. Camien obviously needed a “touch from the Lord,” and the girls got to be a physical manifestation of that. What’s even more incredible to me, is what Lachim (one of the Jamaicans we served with at the church) shared with me after I explained my vision. He said that in Jamaica, it would have been culturally weird, maybe even unacceptable for a man to hug another man in that context/situation.

 

Originally, it was going to be me hugging Camien. In fact, I was beginning the process… then, my phone rang. You see, it wasn’t about anything that I could offer Camien. It wasn’t about my hug, or the girls’ laying of hands, or even Emily’s hug. It was about a Savior eager to reach Camien’s heart through a means that Camien needed.

 

My touch, my hugs may not always be satisfying to people, as I shared before. Even if it does satisfy, it’s only temporary. But the touch of Jesus offers instant gratification. It is loving. It is eternal. We are mere instruments in God’s orchestra.

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