Real Imitators

In Daily Devotional by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey

Theme of the Week: You and Creation

Bible Verse: “..and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Colossians 3:10

Scripture Reading: John 14:1-14

A curtain screened my group of interns and medical students from the rest of the forty-bed ward at a training hospital in Vellore, India. Activity throbbed in the ward: nurses tending to other patients, families bringing in home-cooked food. Inside the curtain, though, we were giving full attention to our young colleague as he made a diagnosis. He was half-kneeling, in the posture I had taught him, with his warm hand slipped under the sheet and resting on the female patient’s bare abdomen.

Suddenly something caught my eye—a slight twitch of movement on the intern’s face. Was it the eyebrow arching upward? A vague memory stirred in my mind, but one I could not fully recall. Somehow his facial expression combined sympathy, inquisitiveness, and warmth.

At that moment my memory snapped into place. Of course! The left eyebrow cocked up and the right one trailing down, the head tilted to one side, the twinkling eyes, the wry, enticing smile—these were unmistakably the features of Professor Robin Pilcher, my old chief surgeon in London. I sharply sucked in my breath. Startled by my reaction, the students all looked up. I could not help it, for it seemed as if the intern had studied Professor Pilcher’s mannerisms and was now replicating them in an acting audition.

I had to explain myself. “That is the face of my old chief! What a coincidence—you have exactly the same facial expression even though you’ve never been to England and Pilcher has never visited India.”

At first the students stared at me in confused silence. Finally, two or three of them grinned. “We don’t know any Professor Pilcher,” one said. “But, Dr. Brand, that was your expression he was wearing.”

Later that evening, alone in my office, I reviewed my time under Pilcher. I had learned from him many techniques of surgery and diagnostic procedures. Evidently, he had also imprinted his instincts, his expression, his very smile, in a way that could be passed down to others. Now I, Pilcher’s student, had become a link in the human chain, a carrier of his wisdom to students some nine thousand miles away. The Indian intern, young and brown-skinned, speaking in Tamil, had no obvious resemblance to Pilcher or to me. Yet he had conveyed the likeness of my old chief so precisely that it had transported me back to university days with a start.

The experience in that ward gave me a crystalline insight into the concept of “image.”

Taken from Fearfully and Wonderfully by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, InterVarsity Press, Copyright ©2019 by Philip Yancey and the Children of Paul and Margaret Brand. Used by permission.


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About
Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
Dr. Paul Brand (1914–2003) grew up in India, studied medicine in London, and practiced orthopedic surgery in India and the United States. He achieved world renown for his innovative techniques in the treatment of leprosy. Philip Yancey is one of the best selling Christian authors alive today. His interactions with Christians from around the world and his early church experiences inform his writing on faith, the problem of pain, and unexpected grace.
Image
Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
Dr. Paul Brand (1914–2003) grew up in India, studied medicine in London, and practiced orthopedic surgery in India and the United States. He achieved world renown for his innovative techniques in the treatment of leprosy. Philip Yancey is one of the best selling Christian authors alive today. His interactions with Christians from around the world and his early church experiences inform his writing on faith, the problem of pain, and unexpected grace.