In the latter days of February, whenever the sun peeks out from behind winter’s clouds long enough to raise the temperature, I do whatever it takes to spend some time outside and enjoy a taste of spring. A few weeks ago, Tennesseans were treated to several spring-like days in a row.
Like me, our kids were stir-crazy from being cooped up inside so long. So, my daughter Julia (7) and my youngest son David (2) joined me for a walk in our neighborhood.
I’m using the word “walk” loosely. Going on a walk with small kids is great, as long as you don’t expect to do much walking. Our youngest can’t help but stop every minute or two. Look, he’s found a stick! He sees a rock. He’s poking the dried-up worm on the sidewalk. He’s hiding in the bushes from his sister. He’s listening to the noise he can make as he stomps on crunchy leaves.
Walking is not the point. Exploring is. The walk is just the bonus.
But then all the wonder suddenly flees.
I’m farther down the sidewalk, looking back and calling the kids to hurry along. As they run, David, trying to keep up with his big sister, forgets that his feet can’t go as fast as his head, and he winds up flailing forward – his hands sliding down the road.
Just a scrape. No blood. No bandage necessary. But our idyllic scene has been interrupted by a two-year-old’s wail.
And then, in just seconds, I see my daughter Julia stoop next to him, lift his head, and she says, “Let me kiss it.”
With eyes wide and wet, he looks up at his sister, thrusts his hand out to her lips, and she gives it a kiss. Seconds later, he is up and running again. “All better!” he tells me.
The Kiss That Heals
What is it about the kiss that heals our wounds?
The reasonable side of me turns to qualifications. It wasn’t a serious injury. There wasn’t enough bleeding to require a doctor. The kiss just helped him get over the pain.
Yes, I realize all of those things, but I also know that certain pains that may be easy for an adult to endure can be simply overwhelming to a toddler. His cry was authentic. His pain was real. But somehow, the healing that came from his sister’s kiss was real, too.
I can imagine the evolutionary scientist saying, “There’s a perfectly natural reason for this behavior. Our ancestors discovered that sympathy and compassion helped them endure the harsh life of the wilderness. ‘Let me kiss it and make it better’ is just a gene that helps us get through life.”
I find that explanation much too narrow and unimaginative. I suppose there is a kernel of truth in the idea that a parent’s affection for a child is a way of showing compassion – a way of minimizing the pain and fortifying a kid for future endeavors.
But what if there is more going on in this simple act of love?
What if the action of a little girl in kissing her brother’s scraped hand communicates something deeper and richer than all of the scientific explanations of the world could invent?
When Julia kissed David’s hand, she meant something: Love will make this better. Let me show you, with the kiss.
Maybe, in this simple act of compassion, we find a clue to the story of our world, a story that kids instinctively know must be true.
Her stooping down says, “You need me to come to you.”
His stretching out his hand says, “I’m hurt and need to be healed.”
Her kiss says, “Love will heal the world.”
His response says, “Because you love me, I am whole again.”
In this exchange we see a small taste of the healing that God offers to the world. The Creator God looks down on the people He has made, sees them in distress, and offers His kiss of love.
You have fallen; I will help you up.
You are broken; I can make you whole.
You are injured; My love can heal your wound.
God displayed His fatherly compassion when He stooped down to us, spoke the command to believe in His healing love, and then absorbed the pain and suffering from our fall into Himself.
We do not worship a God who is far removed from the suffering due to our sin. He does not continue down the sidewalk while we are left in our misery. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Let me kiss it and make it better, God says. For My love will heal the world.
There is a kiss for you, for I am Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases. – Charles Spurgeon