By Caroline Crawford
They are the ones that Jesus came for- to love, to save, to sit with, and to touch.
They are the outcasts, the voiceless, the untouchables of this world. Those are His heart’s love. When you find yourself in one of those moments where you are able to sit with one of them, you realize just how blessed you are. Because they are holy moments and you are sitting in the very spot your Savior would be found. Moments like these are precious, holy, and humbling. And a person should never take them lightly nor dare walk away unchanged.
Just days ago we were walking through a leper colony and came upon a man lying on a blanket with flies everywhere. All the flies were condensed to this one little 5 by 5 foot blanket. There must have been hundreds on him. Watching this old man as we walked up, I could tell leprosy was eating away at his body. He had three of his fingers still on his hands. One foot was almost completely gone. He was so skinny that his white-spotted skin sagged on his body. And there were open, raw wounds all over one arm and foot. That’s where the most flies sat, in the midst of the infected wounds feasting away.
I wish I could say I was exaggerating, but I’m not. It was gut-wrenching in its truest form.
As we got to him, I knew this was where I was to be. I could not walk away from him. It’s in people like him where heaven meets earth and where the presence of God is found. And so without taking another moment’s thought, I sat right down on his blanket with him.
Touch My child.
I heard that small, still voice speak with power and sternness. It was not to be ignored. In those split seconds after hearing that voice, my whole understanding of the moment changed. I began to look with Kingdom eyes to see what was really happening.
The presence of Jesus was all over this man. This was no longer just an ordinary moment anymore; it was a moment of holiness. The beloved son of my Father sat before me and more than anything, he needed to be touched.
Without thought, I stretched out my hand and laid it gently on his back and began rubbing. Before me was the so called untouchable of the world who, more than words or aid, needed the soft touch of Jesus reaching out His hand.
We sat there for the next thirty minutes. I rubbed his back and swatted away the multitude of flies as best I could. I did my best to make sure the dirty dishrag remained wrapped around his open wound on his arm so the flies couldn’t get at it. As he laid there his face would scream out in voiceless cries as the pain of his decaying body became too much for him to bear.
Language was an issue. He could barely speak anymore because of how the disease had taken over and I don’t know the first word of Hindi. So I just smiled. I touched. I looked into those eyes that have been ignored and did my best to let him know I cared. Because I did and I do.
I love him.
He had been scorned and left to die by his people because of their disgust for his appearance and yet when I looked into those aged eyes, I saw God’s special son who had been beaten up and forgotten by the world, but never by my Father. He’s been unloved, abandoned, and cast out by society, but laid there as God’s greatest delight and joy.
Moments like these change a person. How can they not? They get you out of that common place we all live in- the place of looking at ourselves- and get our eyes pointed outwards on a world that is hurting and dying and that is in desperate need of Jesus’ love to bombard them in such a way that they too have no choice but to become changed.
Sometimes all a person needs is a touch. Above all things is always love. When will we learn that it is not about programs, agendas, numbers, and buildings? It’s about love. It’s not about denominations or politics. It’s about His dying people in this world who need the touch of Jesus. You don’t need to be called into loving the outcasts, the abandoned people of this world. This is what the church must be about.
Arise church of God and be His will to a world that is groaning in loud cries of pain for a love that far surpasses and outlasts anything the world will offer.
Can’t we see?
It’s all about love.
If you liked this article, check out: Hope in a Leper Colony
Caroline grew up in Connecticut in a small town with pretty much the same people from Kindergarten through Senior year of high school. Since committing her life over to Jesus at a Young Life club meeting, life has never been the same. Before entering her senior year of college, she went on a two-month mission trip to Kenya . The trip changed her life and led to her currently traveling the world .
*Photo by Natalie Montgomery.