Just finished a wonderful online conversation with a sweet lady who knows how to care.
Seriously. She has touched base with me every few days or so since my sis-in-love died.
She texted Bible verses to my sis every day faithfully for years to encourage her in her battle against cancer.
She also visited. She laughed with my sis! Laughter meant so much to my sis who grew up in tough circumstances.
Chatting with her, she misses her friend who also died of chronic illness a year ago. Someone else she took the time to encourage on a regular basis.
Maybe encouragement isn’t your gift. But, listen up, please!
If there are chronically ill people in your congregation, the Bible says, if one member suffers, all the body should hurt, too.
NO excuses, right? You need to find ways to care. Love in action is a true mark of a true body of Christ.
Many chronically ill people make a huge effort to appear normal when they go out in public. They may even look perfectly well.
Like my sis, they are also walking around with stage four cancer, or an incurable chronic illness. They still put that smile on their face. Or they laugh uproariously. It is their way of loving being with normal people for a bit.
And if they know Jesus, it is the joy of the Lord. Spending time with God’s people should be a taste of heaven.
Their husbands or wives are most likely carrying a huge load to keep it all together. You ladies know what I mean.
Guess what? Being a caring encourager means seeing the hard and listening to the sad things, too!
Are you just a Sunday, see-you-at-church friend? Or are you for real?
Do you just need help and ideas of how to communicate caring? Let me throw a few thoughts into your idea jar.
Easiest first. Send an email or text regularly. Why? Touching base is caring. Even if you never get a response, don’t hold back! God communicates His love to us in His written Word! We need to write notes to those who are hurting.
Maybe a phone call is appropriate. Maybe not. Try to find out if that would be difficult or annoying. Step one is the way to go if you don’t live nearby.
Try snail mail, too. We have loved getting notes from folks over the past month.
Bring a meal. Food and rest are often the biggest challenges of the ill. I often wished I could feed my sis more often. Keeping up with her healthy diet was almost a full-time job. Shopping, food prep — all this takes a toll. It can be hard to keep up with in a normal family.
Chronic illness is expensive in so many ways. Healthy food and body supplies cost more. Gifts of money or other tangible needs are often most deeply appreciated. It is hard and humbling to ask. It is also fearful. Like, what will these people think if we have a great need we cannot meet. We’re losers and leeches on the Body, right?
Don’t just say it! Pray, really and truly. Pray with your friend in person if at all possible. Even if you stutter and stumble. I cannot tell you how meaningful the prayers of complete strangers have been to myself and my family. Just wow!
Silence is not always golden.
You do not need to say much.
You should listen more.
Listening and being with your chronically ill friend is golden.
Don’t wait for an Evite to comfort and encourage those around you.
God has called us to this — to love one another with a pure heart fervently.
I am throwing out the challenge? How are you going to encourage the hurting THIS week? I have a couple of cards I must mail.
What do you think? How would you like to be encouraged? Please post in the comment section below to help everyone reading. Your help would be greatly appreciated!