Whom should Kent Brantly thank?

Posted by on Aug 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

#KentBrantly is trending.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the recent controversy (Where have you been for the last 24 hours?!), let me provide some context.  He is the physician, serving Samaritan’s Purse, that contracted Ebola.  His transfer from Africa to the States was widely-publicized a little while ago.  Through the use of some experimental drugs, he has now recovered.  So, what’s the controversy?

When discharged from the hospital, Brantly said a few brief words at a press conference, the full text of which can be found here.  But here is the statement that has ruffled feathers:

Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life…

The public outcry has been diverse.  Some call him ungrateful to the doctors, others call attention to his being a privileged white man, and others say he’s just plain ignorant.  “How could he thank God when there were so many doctors treating him?  How could he be so ignorant that the experimental drugs brought him health?  Does this privileged white man think he’s better than those in Africa?”

In short, Dr. Brantly is not ignorant at all.  In his statement, he thanks his missions agency for their support.  He also thanks the medical staff that treated him (Since Dr. Brantly’s statement was longer than 140 characters, the Twitter generation didn’t take the time to read his full statement and recognize that he expressed his gratitude to the doctors.)  He was also grateful that his own plight might have raised awareness for the tragic events that are occurring in Africa, where many others are still suffering.

So, did God heal him, or did the doctors and experimental drugs heal him?!  This is a false choice.  God does not merely heal through miracles – by definition, those are few and far between.  Rather, all drugs, whether experimental or over-the-counter, all doctors, whether Christian or not, all food and drink, whether luxurious or basic, comes from God’s fatherly hand.  He is the God of miracles but also the God of the mundane.  He does not oppose nature but works through it – He created it, after all.  He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous, though it is only the righteous that give Him credit.

So, whom should Kent Brantly thank?  Well, he should thank the doctors, which he did.  He should thank his family, friends, and missions organization, which he did.  And, above all, he should thank the Triune God, who holds all things in His hand, which he did.

Did God need to answer those prayers and save Dr. Brantly?  No.  Did Dr. Brantly merit this temporal salvation, unlike others who have died?  No.  But God was pleased, in His own freedom, to answer thousands of prayers in the affirmative, granting Dr. Brantly health through the hands of doctors and the use of new medication.  Praise be to God!