He was an orthopedic doctor (and renowned author) who chose his patients among the “dalits” or the untouchables of India. Paul Brand was born in southwestern India in 1914 India to missionary parents. Alongside his wife and physician colleague, Margaret, he spent a lifetime working with the marred limbs of leprosy victims, transforming the way in which medicine approaches the painful and often exiled world of the leper. (Check out the Brands’ bio clip on the Day of Discover YouTube post, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azt-38V_8Z4).
CPC supported missionaries Drs. Sujai and Layanya Suneetha, (Nireekshana ministry in Hyderabad, India) were mentored by the Brands. Early in their training, the young Suneethas learned much from the older and experienced Brands. The Suneethas still speak glowingly of the Brands and the huge impact they had on them personally and professionally.
While the disfigurements of leprosy were once treated as irreversible consequences of the disease, Dr. Brand brought new hope to sufferers of leprosy by utilizing the body’s capacity to heal. He thought that every patient, every newborn baby, in every cell of its body, has a basic knowledge of how to thrive and how to heal. Brand viewed that knowledge as a gift of God. God, as the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, had wonderfully and fearfully crafted our bodies in ways no one else could ever devise.
Author Philip Yancey was another individual greatly influenced by Paul and Margaret Brand. Yancey tells of his experience as a young journalist interviewing this dignified Christian statesman and surgeon. He recalls Brand speaking of his patients with tears as he described their experience with the disease, the experimental surgeries, and their long-standing suffering. During many memorable conversations, Yancey recalls the healing presence this physician was to Yancey’s own crippled and weary belief in God. To Yancey, Brand represented faith and hope in action, in reality, in efficacy. As Dr. Brand restored the image of God in lives maimed by disease, so he also formatively planted the image of God in the once doubt-ridden world of a young author. In a Christianity Today article, Yancey wrote, “You need meet only one saint to believe, to silence the noisy arguments of the world.”
What a reminder of God’s providence…of how He uses a faithful believer to rouse a distracted world. It is the old man with Scripture permeating his words and thoughts and actions who gives us one more reason to inspect stumbling blocks of doubt. It is the godly woman, while selflessly attending to others and singing theology-rich hymns who makes us wonder anew at the person of Christ. One of the most effective, God-endorsed defenses of the faith is a life lived for Jesus. One of the most telling apologetics of the Christian worldview is a life transformed and sustained by the presence of God. Such lives are clarion statements that God is real and worthy to be followed. “Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,” proclaims the psalmist, “that glory may dwell in our land” (Psalm 85.9).
May God be pleased to use our lives, our consecrated lives, to hush the arguments of a noisy world. May our joyful service to our King and all His subjects be the better defense to those who oppose. May our captured hearts display the excellences of His grace.