Would an all-powerful God ever create something that was incomplete? Unfinished? Not whole? Apparently so. Seems rather hard to believe, but in the midst of perfection something was found lacking — like a bare patch of canvas on an artist’s finished masterpiece. But there it was — God’s unfinished business.

In the Bible’s account of Creation, God made the earth in just seven days. At the end of each day, He stood back to examine His handiwork. For five days in a row His assessment was the same: “And God saw that it was good.” But on the sixth day something unusual occurred. For the first time He said that part of Creation was “not good.” Here’s the exact quote from Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

After His wondrous work in creating Adam, the first man, God recognized that something was amiss. The human being needed a partner: A life mate. A love mate. Someone to hold his hand as he walked through the garden. Someone to slip his arm around as the sun sank into the west. Someone to snuggle with as the stars came out. Someone to have and to hold for a lifetime. And so God created Eve. She was Adam’s equal in every way. Together they were to rule the world — in love with God and in love with each other.

“Somewhere deep in the fabric of the human heart God placed a desire to love and be loved. Touch and be touched.”

What was true at Creation is still so today — people need others to survive and thrive. We each require helpmates and heart mates to make it through life. One of the ways we can aid each other to flourish is through the wonderful gift of touch. The skin God created for each of us is the largest sense organ in our bodies and responds positively to every loving touch.

Numerous studies document the fact that we must have touch to develop and grow. Research has shown that women who are hugged regularly tend to live longer and have fewer heart problems.

In his classic book Psychosocial Medicine: A Study of the Sick Society, James L. Halliday wrote that infants deprived of regular maternal body contact can develop profound depression with an accompanying lack of appetite and wasting so severe that it can lead to death.

In modern health care we have to take precautions to prevent the spread of infections. Therefore, the hand is covered with a glove, and a synthetic touch replaces the touch of skin. The mask covers a sympathetic smile, and glasses shield the eyes. We would love to be able to communicate our care skin-to-skin, but it would violate the roles of modern health care. This is why it is even more important that you touch your loved ones and hold them close. We are healed as we are touched. It’s God’s original design, and it still works today.

Somewhere deep in the fabric of the human heart God placed a desire to love and be loved. Touch and be touched. Well-known family therapist Virginia Satir once stated that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight a day for maintenance, and twelve a day for growth. How do you express your need for human contact? Do you have someone you can turn to for a soothing word and a gentle touch? If not, one of the best ways to find such a friend is to be that kind of friend to others.

We can also enjoy our God-given sense of touch through the textures around us. Velvety pillows and rough burlap. Silky clothes and coarse carpeting. Smooth grass and sharp stones. All are sensations we experience through the sense of touch. In your personal environment have you taken the time to surround yourself with things you like to feel?

Are there fluffy pillows to caress your head as you snuggle into bed? Do you have a favorite overstuffed chair you can flop into and relax? Is your home carpeting gentle on the feet? Do you wear comfortable clothing that’s soft on the skin? The next time you go shopping, try a different approach. Rather than simply searching for the latest styles, try feeling the fabric first. Run your hand down the clothing rack or over the shelves until you find something pleasant to the touch. Only then should you pull it out and take a look at the style. If you need extra guidance, ask a sales attendant for help in finding natural fiber fabric. The softer texture is sure to be a sensory explosion next to your skin. You might be surprised how much better you feel in clothing chosen for comfort rather than chic.

Take some time this week to explore creative ways you can make your personal environment a more touching place to be.