Just over a year ago, a good friend asked us to pray for his former classmate from Abilene Christian University who may have become infected with the Ebola virus while serving as a medical missionary in Africa. This classmate that my friend was so concerned about was Dr. Kent Brantly. In the coming weeks, Kent Brantly became a household name and an international news story, and we joined thousands of other Christians in praying for his recovery. I remember watching the televised news stories for updates on his condition and hearing such fear and concern expressed by the masses. Ultimately, Dr. Brantly was healed by the gracious hand of God, and Called to Life is his story.
Through this book, Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber give readers a window into the personal details of this captivating news story. They discuss their relationship, their faith, and how God called them to serve as medical missionaries in Liberia. They each take turns sharing what they experienced while serving the people of Liberia, caring for victims of the Ebola virus, and the details of Kent’s battle for his life when he fell victim to the deadly disease.
I found their story riveting --very easy to read and difficult to put down. Aside from getting a personal, detailed view into an international news story that I had watched unfold on television, I found two sections of Dr. Brantly’s thoughts of particular worth: the motivation for his role as a medical missionary (pg 76) and the tension that exists between crediting God for healing him or crediting science (pg 206).
Some may wonder why Kent and Amber Brantly would risk their personal health and their family for such a dangerous mission. They felt called by God to serve Him in this capacity and to show the compassion of Jesus to the Liberians. Brantly says, “Jesus healed many people who did not follow him. I believe I am called to do the same. His healing was not predicated on their acceptance of his message. Jesus healed because he had compassion on people. And I seek to have that same kind of compassion on my patients” (pg 77).
This compassion and this calling nearly cost Dr. Brantly his life, but God chose to heal him. Was he miraculously healed by God because thousands of people were praying for him, or was he healed by science, through the experimental treatment he was given? Why did God choose to heal him when so many others died? Dr. Brantly works through all of these questions as he seems to share with the reader a glimpse into his personal prayer journal. He recounts a number of unlikely events and concludes, “Some may call it all a grand coincidence, and I couldn’t argue with them. But when I see the unlikely and highly improbable events that occurred –not only during my illness, but also for decades preceding the Ebola epidemic in West Africa –I see the hand of God at work, and I give him the credit” (207).
Praise God for dedicated, compassionate people like Kent and Amber Brantly who choose to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a dying world.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.