February 6, 2014

Suffering and Unity with Christ

Dr. Paul Brand was working with leprosy patients in India, when he was invited to preach to a gathering of the rejected poor and suffering.

As a hand surgeon, when he stood before the social outcasts in a crowded courtyard, his eyes were drawn to their disfigured hands, many with claws or stumps for fingers or no fingers at all.

“When I meet people, I can tell a lot by their hands,” he began. “I know what kind of work they did, and I can tell a lot about their character.”

Then he spoke of how he imagined the hands of Christ, the helpless hands of an infant, the callused hands of a carpenter, and the healing hands of a physician. 

Next, Dr Brand described the hands of the crucified Christ, a reminder of what he endured on the cross. His description of Christ’s deformed and crippled hands must have had quite an effect on the lepers. The Savior’s hands were just like their own.

Christ’s scars are a reminder of his pain and sacrifice on the cross. When those who suffer realize they have a common experience with Christ, they are united with him, and from that unity comes strength, courage and hope. 

NOTE:  Dr. Brand’s story is told in a book by Philip Yancey titled Where Is God When It Hurts