Philip Yancey’s book Soul Survivor highlights the lives of thirteen mentors that helped his faith survive the church. One such mentor was Dr. Paul Bland, co-author with Yancey on The Gift of Pain, In His Image, and Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. Dr. Bland founded a leprosy center in Vellore, India named Karigiri. Dr. Bland stated, “I thank God for pain..I cannot think of a greater gift I could give my leprosy patients.” The pain system protects the human body from attack. He reminded Yancey that he treats a person, not a disease and that doing so was the true meaning of rehabilitation. After a visit to the leprosarium, Yancey concluded that it was unavoidable to learn about the infinite worth of human beings.
I was struck by Bland’s life and many others in Soul Survivor. How they saw God’s people and their role as a Christian was inspiring to say the least. I often think about the people out “looking for God” or “trying to find themselves”. I wonder if they’ve ever tried serving the sick. God is there.