In a previous post I make suggestions on how to help your friend who has cancer. One thing I didn’t mention was the “preachers” that come to visit, or worse—deliver their sermons over the telephone. Sometimes these folk were truly well-meaning, wanting to encourage. But, speaking personally, their words had the opposite effect on me.
“Keep your faith in the Lord!” they would urge. My blood would boil. In whom did they expect me to put my faith?
“Trust the Lord, Shirl,” they would say as they got up to leave. “He’s the only one who can save you.” Well thanks. I actually know that, and I don’t need reminding.
I knew I wasn’t being logical. I certainly wasn’t being gracious. But cancer is neither logical nor is it gracious.
Many of them quoted a whole lot of Scripture at me, or gave me a message they claimed the Lord had said they were to give me. I’m afraid my (silent) reaction was usually, “So, has He forgotten my address?” Often the verse of Scripture was one about healing. I can’t tell you how often “the Lord” sent me a message to say I had been healed. If that was the case, why was I going through this horrid treatment? If God had healed me, and I knew that for sure, I should stop treatment. Yet if I ever mentioned that possibility, folk would become anxious and insist I should see it through to the end.
Make up your mind. Either I’m healed or I’m not!
Funny, I never received a verse telling me to settle down and stop being independent. Nor did I ever get one that said I was to be patient. If the messages were truly from the Lord, I suspect those are the ones He would have sent me. I never heard, “The Lord sent me to give you a big hug.” Or “The Lord wants you to know how much He loves you.” There were times that would have been most welcome.
It probably sounds as if I’m being sarcastic, and I don’t mean to be. But I think as Christians we’re too quick to say, “The Lord said I must tell you . . .” I have nothing against someone sharing a relevant passage of Scripture when they visit, if there’s a reason for sharing it. But usually a cheerful time of conversation is what the patient needs. Quoting random Scripture verses can do more harm than good.
“You must keep your eyes on Jesus.” Are you suggesting I’m not?
Illogical? Probably. Reactionary? Yep! But whoever said people on aggressive cancer treatment are logical or never prickly?
A few years ago, I nursed my sister-in-law before she went home to the Lord. Often I read a passage in my own Quiet Time with the Lord that related to the experience we were sharing. But most often, it was addressed to me, not to her. On a very few occasions, I received a verse I felt would encourage her, and then I would share it. But only once I’d asked the Lord if I should.
The Word of God is a two-edged sword. It’s sharp. It’s pointed. And it can hurt if used without care. Love your friend or family member enough to handle spiritual issues with care!