• Debbie Salter Goodwin

Where Healing Meets Compassion


My favorite Gospel writer is Luke. He captured so many of Jesus’ stories and interactions, especially the ones about healing. I look at the stories through his inquisitive mind. I pay attention to the details he selected, especially details other Gospel writers failed to mention.

Paul called him “his dear friend, the doctor” (Colossians 4:14). Luke probably was his companion on many of his missionary trips. It never hurts to have a doctor as a traveling companion, especially if you see the insides of prisons more than Holiday Inns! Most agree that Luke wrote Acts. Luke, with his penchant for detail, tells the story of how the early Christian church formed and problem-solved.

Luke wasn’t one of the first disciples. That’s what stands out the most to me. He came along later. But his research reads like he was there. It’s what he captured about Jesus that leaves the strongest impression for me. Dr. Luke saw a connection between Jesus’ prayer and his interaction with needy people. Dr. Luke recognized how Jesus valued women and had compassion on the poor. He chronicled these interactions, probed their meaning, and gave us a picture of our Wounded Healer.

Dr. Luke was a journalist like we need today, capturing details that told a bigger story than what those who witnessed them may have understood. He retold 23 parables and 20 miracles. I can only imagine how the curious mind of Dr. Luke embraced the healing Jesus brought by word or touch. Jesus healed without a chemical, herbal concoction or surgical knife. That had to bring Dr. Luke to his knees every time he heard it.

Dr Luke is my reminder of important lessons for my life and writing:

1. Tell the story without prejudice or agenda.


I have trouble believing that Dr. Luke didn’t have plenty of questions about the stories of Jesus he heard. However, if he had an agenda, it was more about letting all the facts surface so that the real story could be told. He didn’t select details by bias. Can you even imagine how journalists today would have performed their selective reporting? For me, Dr. Luke is my journalistic teacher. I try to tell my stories so that God’s truth gets top billing.

2. God has healing that medicine can’t provide. Use both!


The stories Dr. Luke tells never denigrated medicine but lifts our eyes to healing that also comes from God. We don’t hear that Dr. Luke threw away everything he knew or stopped bringing healing from what he was taught. But I think he always did it with more prayer than before. I think he worked more closely with the Great Physician.

3. Compassion heals, too.


Any doctor worth his or her degree knows that. What medicine can’t do, compassion goes a long way to address. I have an image seared into my mother memories of a doctor moment. We were at a scheduled cardiologist appointment, reviewing a frightening incident where Lisa lost consciousness and we called 911. Believe it or not, the first name of the cardiologist we saw that day was Luke. Our Dr. Luke was sitting beside Lisa, asking her questions about the incident. Then, Lisa did something I had never seen her do; she reached for his hand. And our Dr. Luke, held her hand and told her how very brave she was. I saw Lisa’s face and shoulders physically relax. There was healing in that hand hold and in his simple words. We knew there was no pill to cure Lisa’s heart failure; but there was healing for her spirit. Compassion always heals something. We should use it generously.


If you want to see Jesus through a doctor’s eyes, take some time this week to use the one-page Bible study you can download here. And if you learn something new, write me.