I’ve gotten the nudge from the Lord quite a bit to write a particular post, but I’ve been praying about it some time to see when to do it. I felt the go ahead today as I was praying and ironically studying something that had nothing to do with that!
As you know the purpose of this blog is to encourage, equip and comfort those who are suffering but also the body of Christ. One thing I’ve felt to write about is to the body, how to help those who are suffering. Many in the church just honestly don’t know how to help or what to do. It’s one thing to have someone who has had a baby and needs some meals, that’s easy; or someone who is sick and or has come out of the hospital, that’s also easy. But what about those who are chronically suffering and need help more than once, sometimes quite often. How do you help those? Here are 5 ways you can help!
First: Don’t look the other way!
Listen, I get it. Suffering in any form is messy. Whether it be through chronic illness-mental and physical, or the aftermath of a death etc. It’s much easier to look the other way and let “someone else deal with it.” Some might even think-the elders of the church can handle that. Let me encourage you, it’s ALL of our job to help. Galatians 6:2 says Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. What does that mean? Simply put, Jesus told us to love the Lord our God and to love one another and that sums up the whole law. What does love mean here? It means not walking away. It means helping when you see a need if it’s in your power to do so. the word BURDEN here is Greek means “to support, as a burden; to put upon one’s self (something) to be carried” It’s the idea of you getting in there, rolling up your sleeves and holding up that heavy thing with that person. Think about it. Jesus said in John 13:35 that the whole world would know we are His if we love one another. It’s a testimony to the world of the love of Christ. That’s what we are. We are a representation of Christ to the world. What better way to show the world who He is and what He has done for them than to display it by loving one another. Commit to walk through this with them. SEE them and be there for them.
Second: Don’t ask how they are unless you’re willing to bear that burden
Here’s the thing, we are all guilty of this. Myself included. I flippantly walk through the halls at church and say “how are you?” But to be transparent, I say it more often that not to be kind than actually meaning it. What happens usually when you ask that question to someone and they start to spill it? We get annoyed! We’re thinking “ugh, I know I asked but I didn’t really mean it!” Here’s one thing the Lord showed me. If we don’t care enough to truly mean it, and we aren’t prepared and willing to carry whatever burden they are struggling with, then just don’t ask. People want to know you care enough to ask and really mean it. Check on them and be there for them!
Third: Pray for them!
This is the most important one out of them all thus far. Pray pray pray for them. As someone who chronically suffers, you have no idea how much we need prayer. There is so much that goes into literally just living each day. In my life, there’s the constant physical effects, which makes it difficult if not impossible sometimes to do anything. Then that leads into the mental effects. The doubt, the hopelessness, the despair. That leads into the emotional effects, depression etc. Then there’s the guilt of not being what I want and the disappointment that comes with that. I want so badly to be the mom that can take my girls places, have special dates with them, take them to normal functions, church even without having to rely on my husband. There’s the exhaustion of just being sick every single day with no relief. There’s SO much we need prayer for. Hebrews 13:3 says “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” We are to remember those who are suffering as if you were going through it. If you were the one suffering, what would it mean to you for people to pray as fervently, passionately and steadfastly as if it were themselves in the very affliction you are in? It means a whole lot. Pray for those who are suffering. I can’t say it enough. And then, sometimes, let them know that you’re praying for them. You have no idea how much it means to me for someone to come up to me and tell me they’ve been praying for me. Suffering can be very lonely. It’s a very nice and comforting thing to know we are loved.
Never doubt the power of encouraging words. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” Proverbs 16:24 says that “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Offer kind words to those who are suffering. Pray and ask the Lord to give you a word for them. Encourage them with what the Lord has encouraged you with if you’ve gone through suffering also. That’s why we go through things, to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from Christ. I had a dear sweet sister who wrote me an “open when” card for when I was discouraged or in despair. She wrote a hilarious joke inside and encouraging words for when I was feeling hopeless. I can’t tell you how much that meant when I opened it one day. If you see something online that encouraged you that day, send it to them! It will mean more than you realize.
Fifth: Help in practical ways!
James 2:19 says “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” and 1 John 3:17 says “If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him?” If you see a brother or sister who is suffering and you have the means to help them, and you don’t, what good is it? That’s what the world does. If there is a sister or brother who has a need and you are able to help, then help. Serve in practical ways. Bring meals if it’s difficult for them to do that or even just to bless them. Sometimes the last thing a family needs who is suffering is to worry about dinner. Help them clean their home. If they have kids, take their kids to the park. If they homeschool, help them any way with any classes. There are many many ways you can help. And of course PRAY. There are many ways, that if you’re willing to be used, the Lord will show you how to help them.
These are 5 small ways that you can help. There are practical ways for all of us in the body of Christ to help those who are suffering. We are a family in the Lord. Let us not forget that. If it was your mom or your sister suffering, would you be there? Of course! Let us show that same affection to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Let’s show the world the reality of Christ by our love.
Until next time. God bless you all!