22.1 My Story
I thought I knew how to minister to hurting families and person’s facing death. My hubris said I was an expert. After all, I was a seminary trained minister and an ordained minister and an ordained deacon. I had made thousands of hospital visits, nursing home visits, and been with numerous persons and their families when death visited. I also had cared for my mother-in-law, and both my parents being the last to see each alive.
It wasn’t until I was holding my wife’s hand, praying as she took her last breath and hearing the hospice registered nurse pronounce the time of death was is 3:54 PM, April 12, 2018, did I understand the sacrifice in time, emotion, and love that a family member makes in caring for someone they love more than they love themselves.
During the time of my wife’s cancer journey, I had with her permission started a Facebook secret group. The group’s description was, “A place for those that unconditionally love and care about Benita as she battles neuroendocrine carcinoma and melanoma cancers. A family of friends, coworkers, and prayer warriors.”
As I posted daily updates on her condition, how the group members could pray for her and a short daily devotional thought to encourage both my wife and those praying for her something magical and mystical happened. My wife Benita and I began ministering to those who were praying and ministering to her.
I was surprised when I received the first request for permission to share my daily devotion. The reader asked if it would be okay to copy and send it to a friend that was battling cancer. I had several cousins fighting cancer. A couple of them told me how they looked forward to my posting of the devotion every day. One cousin committed that the short devotional post ministered to her because she knew we were living what she was experiencing. The was a real, first-person experience and prayer instead of just words on a page.
It was with her words that I realized how God was using the bed in our life for good to others. My wife Benita would write and send cards to other up until about ten days before she died. Benita would share encouragement and how God was sustaining her during her cancer experience. She was able to comfort others in spite of her tribulation.
22.2 Developing Compassion for Others
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is developing compassion for others. Caring for a person with a long-lasting disease affects people in different ways. Depression may come to reside with some people. Other persons can become bitter. Withdrawal from friends and family can occur with some. You will find yourself tired, more tired than you thought you could ever become.
For the Believer in Jesus Christ, the chronic illness often mellows our heart to make us more compassionate. The persistent disease allows us empathy. It often becomes the point of rapport where we can care for and minister to not only our loved one but others now walking down the pathway we have recently or are currently helping our loved navigate.
22.3 Today’s Bible Verses
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
22.4 What the Verses Mean
The verses are a reminder of what a wonderful God we have. He is the one who comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
Why does he do this? He does this where we can help others.
When family, friends, or coworkers are troubled, needing our support, sympathy, and encouragement, we can pass on to them the help and comfort God has given us.
22.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father, I praise you for how wonderful you are.
- I acknowledge you are the Father of the Lord Jesus.
- I proclaim you as the one who wonderfully comforts and strengthens me in hardships and trials.
- Thank you for teaching me how to soothe others by your example to me where I can give sympathy and encouragement.
22.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Who do you know that could use a word of support today?
- How can you prove that supportive word? A card, a phone call, an email or text?
- Name two things you learned in your journey as a caregiver that help you comfort others.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.
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