“I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning.
For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart..”
I read these words to our deacons this past Tuesday evening at our regular (Zoom) Deacon-Elders meeting. We’ve been engaged in a joint study of the book, Visit the Sick, in order to hone our skills for compassionate ministry. During that study I asked the brothers to consider what it feels like when someone is sick for a long time. They had good answers. Things such as “feeling isolated and depressed”, “feeling hopeless, like this will never end” “feeling abandoned by God,” “feeling like a burden,” or “like others don’t understand.” came to mind. As we moved on to consider what those who are ill need, we talked about things like encouragement, hope, prayer, support, love, understanding, patience, etc. And yes, all these things are true and are the kinds of things we, as ministers of the Gospel, can help provide for the sick when we visit and pray and care for them. But of course, it’s not just the “official” task of pastors and deacons to care for the sick, it is also the ministry of the whole body of Christ as well (something many of you do quite well).
As we discussed these things, I made the comment that, apart from my diabetes, I’ve been pretty healthy most of my life and so have very little personal experience of being on the “other side” of ministry to the sick, where I am the one in need. I try to keep that in mind as I visit, realizing that things look different from the other side of the sick bed. What irony, then, that God in His good providence has chosen to let me experience that “other side” just a bit this week with a Covid diagnosis. I’m fine so far. Just really tired and congested. But the Lord is good. And your prayers are appreciated as always.
May the Lord be near as you continue to trust in Him!