The Jesus Who Reaches In
What does it feel like to “feel” isolated? I may not have been able tell you before seven weeks in quarantine, but maybe I could now. In 2020 B.C. (Before-Corona), I had my places where I felt like I belonged, probably much like you do. The regular stuff: nail salon, gym, church, coffee shop, events at the high school campus. These were the places and faces that drew boundaries around my life and pointed to where I belonged.
Then the virus happened and as time wore on, that changed. Familiar freedoms were sectioned off with “Do Not Cross” tape and I found myself relating to people from behind masks, through Zoom calls, and an unnatural six feet away in real-life conversations (like “OMG, I should hug you, but I can’t … I mean, we can’t … did I offend you by bringing it up?”).
Wanting to be Needed
I fled to social media for connection but didn’t find solace in what I read and observed. There were people, and so many, desperate to have something to say and adamant that their voices be heard. The incessant cacophony surrounding the novel coronavirus pushed me into uncharted territory of novel feelings of personal isolation. Social media-induced self-doubt crept in with questions like, “Do I really need to post that? Or am I just contributing to the noise?”
So, I shut up on social media for a few weeks. So I stopped calling my sisters. I just went about and did this new “social distancing” thing they told me to do to “flatten the curve,” all the while wanting to be needed for something more than staying home. Bored with platitudes, packaged prayers, and pleasantries, I was looking for someone to reach in … without having to explain myself. Saying I knew Jesus, I was confronted with the question, “Did I let Jesus reach in to know me?”
The Touch of Compassion
I decided I wanted to know him like the healed leper knew him. A permanently socially distanced societal outcast, the leper set himself up for a raw, life-changing encounter with Jesus. Bringing himself to his knees, the leper cried, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean'” (Matthew 8:2-3). Immediately, the leprosy was gone.
With complete confidence in His authority and sheer compassion toward the one knelt before Him, Jesus reached in. Into the isolation, into the hopelessness, into the loneliness, into the disease. And. He. Touched. It. Touch, to me, is identification. There’s no other sense that emanates empathy and compassion like touch. Without words, it speaks, “I know your pain. I understand what you’re going through.”
Jesus Reaches In
To be touched by Jesus Christ is to be changed forever. Perfect in its embodiment of love and free from the compromising effects of sin, Jesus’ touch heals us from the inside out. Jesus’ touch renders the contagion of humanity’s disease a moot point. It’s a touch that to onlookers broke all the rules. A touch that unless you were God himself would have infected you too. A touch that transformed this leper’s life forever — bridging the gap, closing the distance, making sick things whole and the unclean, clean.
Jesus’ goal was, and still is, reconciliation to the Father. Showing a lost and confused world that mercy triumphs over judgment. Because He is who He says He is, no boundary, no wall, no disease, no sin, no social isolation is beyond the Jesus Who Reaches In.
Annemarie McLean is a four-girl mom, freelance writer, and co-founder of Brave & Beautiful, a ministry focused on challenging young women to live purpose-driven lives full of courage and character, while developing Christ-centered inner beauty.
In 2012, she also founded 3D Missions, an international outreach taking the Gospel to the nations through the performing arts. Annemarie holds a journalism degree from Oral Roberts University, with post-graduate work in organizational leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University.