The Display of God

In Daily Devotional by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey

Theme of the Week: You and Creation

Bible Verse: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Scripture Reading: John 13:12-20, John 13:31-35

We are called to bear God’s image corporately because any one of us taken individually would present an incomplete image, one partly false and always distorted.

Yet collectively, in all our diversity, we can come together as a community of believers to restore the image of God in the world. This style of involvement with the created world—power exercised “from below” rather than from above—raises urgent questions.

For the agnostic, such questions take on a tone of accusation: “If there is a God, let him prove it somehow! Let him step in with divine power and straighten out the mess of this world.” As a Christian, I struggle not so much with the question, Is God really there? as with, Why has God chosen such an indirect and hidden way of working on earth? Why rely so heavily on unreliable human beings? I get a clue into one possible answer whenever I take on a teaching assignment and experience the peculiar satisfaction of work done through others.

If I were to calculate the number of hands that I personally operated on, I would likely come up with a number around ten thousand. That number seems large, a testament to my advancing age. However, as I reflect further, I realize how negligible that number is. Millions of people in the world suffer from leprosy, a quarter of whom have hand damage. In a lifetime of surgery, putting in as many hours as I can muster, I have personally helped only a tiny fraction of those with needs. Many times, though, I have visited a tiny rural clinic in a place like Borneo and watched a young doctor perform procedures that derive from those we developed at Vellore. In Pakistan, South Korea, Ethiopia, and virtually anywhere leprosy work thrives, you will find students who were trained at Vellore or Carville. Nothing, absolutely nothing, fills me with more joy than to see the seeds of what I taught now sprouting in others’ lives.

That realization gives me insight into God’s way of working in the world. Just as a teacher extends his or her work through students, and a brain expresses itself through loyal cells, God expresses God’s own self through a Body in which Christ serves as Head.

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.
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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.