What is the Best Thing a Person Can Do to Encourage Those Suffering From Illness?

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What is the best thing a person can do to encourage those suffering from illness?

May 27, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: My mother is quite ill and when her friends talk to her they discourage her more than help her. I know they mean well but what is the best thing a person can do to encourage those suffering from illness? — C.F.

A: There are countless opportunities to comfort others, not only in the time of illness, but also in the daily distress that so often creeps into our lives. The greatest comfort comes from the Word of God; this is especially true in the midst of difficult times.

One of the many lessons learned through health crises is how better to help others going through similar valleys of despair. That is why it is always wise to be a good listener when others are suffering. There isn’t much that can be said to those who are hurting and we should ask God for wisdom — when to be silent and when to speak. Often it is not the words we say as much as encouraging others with our presence.

The Bible reminds us that there is a time for everything — a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3). So many testimonials speak of how God spoke to them in sickness and their personal faith in Him grew stronger. Someone recently said, “I could have never said this before cancer, but now that I have completed my treatment and am on the road to recovery, I praise the Lord that He used it to open the door to tell others why I hope in the Lord!” Our own inadequacy should drive us to the Lord.

No one knows what a day may bring but Christians can point to the One who sees us through trials. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)


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