A long time ago when I was still a pastor, I went to the home of one of my people because I could see she hadn’t been feeling well. When we sat down in her living room I told I was worried and I wondered if she was sick.. She denied it and said she was fine; however, I persisted, encouraging her to see her doctor.
“Why?” I pressed.
She let the question hang in the air for a moment before she confessed quietly: “I’m afraid I’ll find out I have cancer.”
She’d recently lost her husband and a sister to cancer. She was a sturdy woman, but grief can steal even a strong person’s courage. I took another moment to let her process her own words.
“You might have cancer,” I agreed, “But then, we don’t know that. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, perhaps the doc will be able to help you feel better.”
She nodded glumly.
“Would you let me make an appointment for you?” I said as I picked up the phone.
“Yes,” she whispered.
And I did. She went in later that week.
Turns out she didn’t have cancer but her blood pressure was dangerously high. She took the medicine prescribed and started feeling better. A few days later, she thanked me.
I was happy to help but I didn’t do that much. I was there, I noticed, and I said something. And it was enough to help her summon her courage to get well.
We can get stuck in our fear because it’s not just fear. It’s confusion and sadness combined with an ailing body. Gathering the strength to get better seems impossible but encouragement from a friend can work wonders. Maybe we can’t afford a major medical bill but we could at least go to the doctor to talk things over.
Perhaps you’re in that situation now. You’re not just sick—you’re isolated and though you hate to admit it, you’re afraid.
Believe me, I understand but if you feel bad can I ask a favor? For this moment, consider me a friend who cares for you (We may never have met but in fact I really do care for you). Let me nudge you by saying how much I would appreciate it if you would pick up the phone and call a doctor. Chances are, you could start feeling better.