April 1, 2021

Faithful Physicians Have Kept the Lamp Burning

arch 30, 2021, was National Doctors’ Day in the United States and other countries, a day that represented, once more, an opportunity to express our deep appreciation to physicians everywhere.

Caring for the sick is a sacred theme in the Scriptures, found in the wisdom, stories, and prophecies of the Old Testament and the Christian gospels and pastoral letters in the New Testament. To seek healing for those who are suffering is portrayed as acting with divine intent, and it is the foundation of faith-based health care. In Adventist health-care communities, this is often described as “the ministry of healing.”

On National Doctors’ Day, we celebrate the talent, skill, and dedication of our medical staff. Working collaboratively with those in medical practice is fundamental to our success in caring for those who have entrusted us with their health and healing. Our appreciation for our physicians is in part anchored in their willingness to effectively serve our communities.

There is a short verse in the Gospel of Luke (who was himself a physician) that I think speaks to this moment. Luke charges those who would represent God's love and mercy in the world to “be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35, NIV).

As I reread those words recently, I couldn’t help but think of our doctors and staff as they have confronted the circumstances created by the coronavirus. They have been a constant in delivering care for all of our patients, not just those with COVID-19. They have never wavered — always dressed ready for service.

Physicians are keenly aware of the expectations that accompany their work. Issues of life and death are present at every moment, and during this past year, absolutely nothing has been routine. And yet they kept the lamps burning!We have become very aware of the personal costs that physicians take on as they partner with us to extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing.

Another physician, Albert Schweitzer, spoke eloquently about the heart of exemplary medical care: “A thought which had become act sprang into us like a spark, and lighted a new flame within us…. We have each of us cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flames within us” (The Light Within Us).

And so, it is with this deep gratitude that we honored our physicians on National Doctors’ Day 2021 for having kept the lamps burning and for rekindling the spark of hope in us again and again.

Over the past 14 months, our medical staff have brought strength and compassion to each new situation. They have confronted unprecedented challenges with courage and perseverance. Their commitment to their patients has been matched only by their ingenuity and passion for doing everything they can to save lives and help end the pandemic.

On National Doctors’ Day and every day — thank you!