The Art of Healthcare: in the footsteps of the Great Physician
I’ve had a quiet week. All but one of my staff colleagues in Living Leadership were on annual leave and I needed to recover from an intense time last week in New Horizon and a cold (lateral flow negative, so no sign of COVID!) I have managed to catch. The ministry highlight of my week was a webinar on Thursday for the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA). This organisation seeks to unite and resource national associations of Christian healthcare professionals (like Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK, of which I’m a member) and is led by my friend Peter Saunders. Peter was surprised earlier this year when in a conversation in Poland I told him how great an inspiration he had been to me when he came to Belfast to do some evangelistic work with a bunch of medical students including me. I am thankful for his lifelong commitment to biblical faithfulness in speaking on ethical issues and training medics and others for evangelism and faithful service.
The theme of the webinar was ‘the Art of Healthcare’. The content was based on a chapter in a book I wrote, published earlier this year by Christian Medical Fellowship, entitled Serving Two Masters. I argued that healthcare is an art in which a professional weaves together knowledge from scientific research and knowledge from social sciences within an ethical framework and the patient’s needs, desires and values, through a therapeutic relationship. That’s a long-winded sentence, but it is to say that healthcare is never only the application of scientific knowledge or even applying it with compassion. It is much more because people are much more than bodies and science is only useful in giving us insights into what is physical.
Sadly, modern medicine has divorced what belong together (think of the difference between a physician, who focuses on the physical, and a psychiatrist, whose interest is the psyche, the Greek word for soul) and cut itself off from its Christian roots. Our Great Physician, Jesus, was Lord of both body and soul and He brought wholeness to fragmented people in his encounters with people suffering in all kinds of ways. Christian healthcare professionals can follow in His footsteps and in His power to do the same. There are all sorts of reasons why that is challenging – long hours and low resources sap morale – but by God’s grace we can hold on to a bigger vision of health and honour the One who alone is the ultimate Healer.
So, please pray for the healthcare professionals you know to stay true to this calling and to have courage to serve for Christ as they care for others. And if you want to help them further why not read my book or buy them a copy?