Spelled out in large and beautiful letters on the wall of our Board Room is the Adventist HealthCare Mission Statement: “We demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.”

When I read or hear those words, I am reminded of a text that is found in the scriptures in Psalm 67:1-2: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.”

This psalm is actually a prayer that starts by borrowing words from an even older prayer—one that we often hear as a benediction at religious services—found in Numbers 6:24, 25:”The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.”

God’s care and love is known through good health.

But in Psalm 67, three important ideas have been added to the prayer, and all of them are important to healthcare.

The first is the opening phrase: “God be merciful unto us.” The virtue of mercy is universally valued by all religious traditions, and it is an idea closely associated with the work of healthcare. It was certainly one of the motivators that led the ancients to establish centers for healing and the care of the sick more than 2000 years ago. And those were the basis for our modern hospitals.

The second idea in the psalm, repeated from the earlier prayer, is the request for God’s blessing; however, added to the psalm is WHY the blessing is requested: “that thy way be known upon the earth.” The blessing is sought not for oneself, but so that God can be known. That’s amazingly close to the idea in our mission statement shown by the phrase “demonstrate God’s care…”

It’s important to notice what the Psalmist isn’t saying. The blessing isn’t so we can be more successful, or more comfortable, or less stressed, or have an easier task to do. The prayer doesn’t ask for a blessing so that people will appreciate our talents, or our kids will respect us, or we can be known as good people—or even so we can bless other people. The prayer is to receive God’s blessing so that his love, his way, can be known.

And what is “his way”? That’s the third idea that the psalmist brings to this prayer. God’s way is “saving health among all nations.”

God’s care and love is known through good health. That is precisely the work we are called to do! Our mission is to “demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.” And according to Psalm 67, this is not just God’s way, it is the reason we seek his blessing, and the reason we seek his mercy.

When we seek restored and vibrant health for our patients and for all who are touched by our ministry, we are truly demonstrating God’s way. May God continue to grant us the opportunity to demonstrate his care in powerful ways, framed by mercy and blessing.