Saturday, March 10, 2012

#106 Haptic Response

Our lives are filled with many modern, fancy devices. Things that were only dreamed of in science fiction novels a few years back are now everyday realities for us. Not too many years ago no one had a mobile telephone, but all of our kids will grow up thinking that we have all always carried our digital leashes in our pockets, purses, or what ever.

The other day I heard someone talking about using a payphone and a kid that was standing there asked with a confused look on their face, "A payphone, what it that?" For the first time in my life I felt a little old. Maybe it's my desire to never feel old that makes me love mobile electronics or maybe it's my appreciation for the time and effort that they save me in conducting the Lord's work; let's go with the latter on that one shall we?

Speaking of mobile electronics, I must say that I am amazed at how the designers of these devices are able to create them so that they blend seamlessly into our lives. One day you are littering your life and the planet with notes all over the place and the next you can be creating a digital archive for all the information your either gather or create. It really is pretty neat.

I even had one phone that when you touched the screen it would vibrate ever so slightly right when you touched it to let you know that the device received your input. This is a feature called "haptic response". Haptic comes from the Greek word happo which means "I fasten onto or I touch". Some feel this type of feature on a device is little more than an annoyance while others appreciate knowing that the device has received the input that they intended for it to receive.

Whether your phone gives you haptic feedback or whether it only flips open and makes calls really has no eternal value, but as I thought about all of this it made me wonder about just how important haptic feedback is for our lives. In other words, is it important for us to have touch feedback from the world around us. According to an article from the New York Times back in 1988 a lack of touch in infants actually retards growth. The research showed that premature infants who were massaged for 15 minutes three times a day gained weight 47% faster and were discharged from the hospital six days earlier. Wow! Touch is really important.

But how important is touch after infancy? I must admit that I have not conducted clinical research but I do have three children. And I make it a point to hug and kiss on them everyday that I can. My own children have grown to appreciate this and look forward to it so much that if I forget to give them a hug or kiss they say, "Daddy, where's my hug?" or "Daddy, are you not going to kiss me goodbye?" There is something about touching our children in a godly way that helps them to feel loved, protected, and nurtured.

I believe part of this stems from the fact that we were created to be in the presence of our God. Of course sin came in through Adam and Eve and we lost the privilege of being in the direct presence of God. How awesome it must have been to commune directly with God, to have Him come up and put His loving arms around you. Talk about some haptic feedback. The awesome thing is that one day soon we will be able to go into the presence of God once again. One day soon our Lord, Jesus, will come back to take us to be in heaven with Him. One day soon we will be able to run up and throw our arms around His neck as we then feel His love wash over us.

Yeah, smart phones and all that digital stuff is neat, but they are no substitute for human touch and they are certainly no comparison with how awesome it will be to fall into the arms of Jesus. But unlike smartphones that we have to buy, being connected to Jesus and being able to eventually be held by Him is a free gift that is available to any and all who will receive Him. Isn't it time that we start looking forward to the divine touch of God? Friends, don't let the flashy trappings of this world become your god; don't let the temporal touches here cause you to miss out on the divine touch of our Lord. There is no app for that!

Dear Lord,
Thank You for designing our bodies to appreciate the sense of touch. Thank You that we have the promise of being reconnected with You in the physical sense. We long for so much more than this world has to offer. Please teach us to be faithful to what You desire for our lives, and please teach us to call others to experience Your saving love. We praise You and ask for Your blessing in Jesus' name, Amen.

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