When I saw the title of the book “Vision for God – The Story of Dr. Margaret Brand” I did not need any persuasion at all to purchase the book. Dr. Paul Brand was well known internationally as a 20th century pioneer in orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation. He had spent the bulk of his life in India helping the lepers and giving them the sense of dignity. He opened the new frontier in discovering pain as a gift from God and applied that knowledge in aiding the lepers from further aggravating their hands and feet. Much accolade had been heaped on him for his achievement in the field of leprosy. What is less known is his equally capable and remarkable wife who has been his companion for over 60 years. In the midst of World War II, Margaret studied medicine in London. She topped the class with Paul Brand as second. They both pioneered practices in the treatment of leprosy in India and throughout the world. Almost by accident, without formal training in eye diseases, she became an ophthalmologist and one of the foremost authorities in the field of ocular leprosy. Reading the book and watching DVD featuring her work among the lepers in India, I was spellbound. With great skills and compassion, Paul and Margaret Brand had accomplished the rare medical feat of treating and loving patients simultaneously.
Without Margaret, Paul Brand would not have become the great surgeon and the great man of God. She worked alongside him in an obscure village in India for years. Both worked in astounding partnership and yet each other’s individuality is not negated.
I like what Philip Yancy, a close friend of theirs, said: “Having spent many hours with them both, I cannot help but think that this was the vision of God for humanity: talented people serving others with cheer and compassion while embracing life-all of it- with contentment and gratitude.”
I silently prayed that my children Sarah and Samuel who are both talented and capable would one day turn out to be the kind of woman and man who serve others with cheer and compassion while embracing life – all of it- with contentment and gratitude. It is a road less traveled. When talents are used to amass wealth for oneself to live opulent and self-centered lifestyle, he or she cheapened the grace of God.
The untouchables of India who had been treated and loved by Paul and Margaret Brand saw in their lives the image of Christ. The gospel that Paul and Margaret preached and lived was easily understood and readily embraced by the lepers. The rejects of the society had encountered Christ through the skillful hands and the loving touch of these surgeons.
I am so glad that Dr. Margaret’s story is told at last.