FOR... Cities - Day 4
Lord, help me evaluate the way I am reaching out to those who are chronically sick. Amen
Read: Mark 1:29-31 (NIV)
“As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So, he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them.”
Healing was very much a part of Jesus’ ministry. While most of us don’t have the gift of healing we can have Jesus’ compassion for the sick. One of the frustrations that we have as Christians is how do we serve those with long term or chronic illnesses among our church members? We know what to do if it is a temporary illness and we can gear up for that by providing a few meals, etc. But when the illness or injury goes beyond a month or two it is difficult to know how to help.
James has the best answer for this in the 5th chapter of his epistle. “Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet.” (13-15a MSG) For many of us this sounds like too simple a solution because we are oriented to be doers. In the last two years we know of several couples who have experienced long term, chronic illnesses in their families. For the most part they have a wonderful, positive witness to those who know and serve them communicating to those of us who have been praying for them that they have felt the prayers and they could not have gotten through the hard times without them. A healing community is first a praying community.
Prayer is one way we can show Christ’s compassion for the sick but there are other ways, also. Don’t just concentrate on the person who is sick but remember the caregiver. Stress on them is devastating. Recently my uncle (whose wife was dying of cancer) shared how worn down he had become taking care of my aunt. If they will let you, provide respite care, send cards, provide snack baskets, visit, shop or run errands for them.
God, may your Holy Spirit guide me as I walk beside those who are experiencing chronic illness. Show me creative ways that I can provide respite for caregivers. In Your Son’s name, amen.