This was my column in the June edition of the SC Baptist Courier.  Link below, text to follow.

Wholly Healthy: Love Heals


Many years ago I was reading ‘In His Image,’ a book by Dr. Paul Brand (and author Phillip Yancy). Dr. Brand, some will recall, was a pioneering plastic surgeon doing incredible mission work in India, operating on those afflicted with Hanson’s Disease, or leprosy. Prior to that, he had experience operating on pilots who survived crashes during the Battle of Britain, many of whom had horrible injuries from fire and other trauma typical of air combat.

One thing he said was that injured pilots, with bad cosmetic injuries, did poorly if they had no family or social support; if they were not buoyed up on love and encouragement. Those who did have the care and concern of others moved past their injuries and were very successful despite disability and appearance.

This made me think about COVID. (I mean, these days what doesn’t?) My father-in-law was afflicted by COVID and spent two weeks on the ventilator and several weeks in rehab. He still can’t walk but he is making progress. Mind you, he is 83 and had some black-lung from working as a coal miner. HIs survival is itself remarkable, but his attitude is tremendous.

Part of this has been the incredible support he received from his own bride, from my wife and her siblings, his own siblings, cousins and members of his church. All of whom, of course, lifted him up in prayer throughout the ordeal.

The belief that one is valued and valuable has healing power. Furthermore, my wife assured him that God still had work for him to do or else he wouldn’t still be around. This resonated powerfully with him.

Many people have survived COVID; but a vast number have required extensive rehab. The virus aside we have so many in our society who survive stroke and heart attack, infection and trauma who require long periods of rehabilitation.

This can be a frustrating time for patients and their loved ones. And these days, with concerns about quarantine and transmission of the virus, it has been all too easy for patients to languish alone in nursing homes and rehab centers. For all the professionalism of staff members, they simply aren’t as connected or invested in the sick and disabled as their own family and friends; who couldn’t be with them due to rules about the pandemic.

As we move into a recovery phase, with vaccine availability and reduced hospitalizations, we need to remember to focus on the things that bring healing other than surgeries and medications. People recovering from a variety of illnesses and injuries need the touch of people who love them and the persistent message that their journey is worth pursuing because they matter; intrinsically and specifically.

We have a long way to go. But all individuals struggling to recover from their afflictions need to hear words of love and feel the touch of loving friends and family. All every bit as much as they take pills and perform exercises.


(July 5, 2021:  Addendum, my father-in-law is walking with a cane only, and driving himself and my mother-in-law to church.  God is good.  Take that COVID!)

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