So there is a lot of thinking I still have to do about how to carry this out in my daily medical practice. One concept which I had not really connected to bearing witness to Christ as a doctor – because we will not always receive a good opportunity to share the gospel message, even just partially, with a patient; we must however always show the character of Christ and give a glimpse of what He is capable of doing with a broken life – is that of mirroring the healing nature of God. Healthcare workers can uniquely bear the image of God as healers. Let me introduce what I mean with a scenario I have played out in my head.
Suppose I am doing my surgery rotation in my third year of med school. I am finishing up my post-op examination with a patient when she asks me why I want to be a doctor. I could say, “Oh, I just really want help people,” or “I just find the body’s ability to heal itself incredible.” Here is another option. I could say, “Well, ma’m, I just want to reflect the healing work of Jesus. You see, this world is pretty messed up and broken. The fact that you needed this surgery shows that things are far from perfect. God didn’t create them to be this way, but He let humans mess up the world when they chose to. However, through Jesus, God is fulfilling His promise to make everything right again. I can’t fix anything permanently. My patients will have a 100% morbidity rate. But God promises to fix EVERYTHING. I want to just be a small, imperfect picture of that ultimate healing which God will one day bring about in the world”
Now that presentation would most likely be more than the woman wanted. I do not think I would share all of that in the given setting, nor am I recommending others do it. My point is that healthcare workers have the unique ability and duty to reflect the excellence of Christ as healer even without speaking. When given the opportunity, we need to explain why we do what we do, and in an ultimate sense, we should be animated and motivated in all our actions by image bearing anyway. Jesus came to heal the individual’s soul, and He expects us to communicate that each individual can be made a new man or woman. However, He came to make ALL things new – to make a new Creation, not just new creatures. People acknowledge disease deviates from the ideal good. Christian health professionals must use their position to bear witness to Christ as the restorer of all things broken, including our bodies.
To give balance to what I have said, physical brokenness is the result of the curse in the Garden, not the cause of the curse. Sin causes brokenness in all forms. I do not mean that the child who gets cancer would be receiving this because of some sin he committed. I do mean that because we are all children of Adam, we all inherit Adam’s nature and Adam’s curse. We cannot pretend that disease and death are the absolute worst forms of brokenness. They cannot kill the soul. However, we would be amiss if we neglected to proclaim Christ as a totalizing healer.
I have a lot more to think about how to practically communicate through words Christ’s healing power, but I am very excited to be bearing the image of God in a unique way as I enter medical school.
Post by Ben German