In I Thessalonians 5:11, Paul wrote: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” There are many ways in which we can lift each other up. First and foremost of these is in the act of prayer. The act of intercessory prayer is a mighty one. It taps into the central power of all creation – God – in order to strengthen and provide for the needs of others.
In addition to prayer there are our words of kindness and encouragement. It is easy to get lost in one’s own struggles and to feel alone – “I am the only one suffering this,” or “nobody cares.” But a gentle word can prove to be, not just a “reality check,” but a load lifter all on its own.
My wife, Dianne addressed this “ministry of encouragement” in the face of her own illness. It is part of her legacy of faith, that she set out to lift others while she herself was in decline. Below is a posting where she discussed it.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami: ‘When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.’
I make a public posting almost everyday, and document how i am coping and remind readers that God is helping me through.
I do this because i want to connect with others out there, perhaps suffering terrible trials, maybe even waiting through terminal cancer as i am, maybe you have relatives out there who have a diagnosis or you just want to understand. Possibly you are prepared to pray for me to make my journey easier.
Whatever the reason, this is possibly my legacy, all i have to leave behind.
I have prayed to be healed and certainly believe God can heal me, but i wont know the truth until my time limit of 6-18m[onths] is over.
Most of the time i try not to think about it, but it an ever present ‘spectre at the feast’ and colours every decision to some extent.
In my case i will potentially be mostly well, until suddenly i am not, and then it would be a quick decline.
I do have other co morbid issues though which make me generally ill and confine my to the house largely, often to bed for long periods. These are the issues my post largely comments on and also logs my positive attitude, which i work hard to maintain.
There are issues i havent touched on yet, the stress of not knowing, will i see another birthday… The loneliness of being home all the time but too ill to really see anyone. The pressure to leave something positive behind, to not be an extra burden to loved ones, to be upbeat and cheerful, to ensure nothing is left undone, and just waiting to see …knowing everytime i am in pain or have a new symptom my husband worries and quietly panics inside.
It is a fulltime job, this being brave: as my mum described it today. But -it is what it is, and i am doing all i can, -all i believe God is guiding me to do.
Cancer… Is a terrible word, it has terrible connitations. i pray daily for those who have relatives who are suffering this cruel monster, who struggle to hold their life together whilst quietly being terrified and out of control.
But, God is there for all of us, he walks us into the storm, holds our hands through it and brings us out the other side changed, improved, sanctified.
Never forget to check if you are holding His hand each day (Dianne’s posting for 24 September 2018).
She was indeed “mostly well, until suddenly [she] am not, and then it would be a quick decline.” Her decline was a matter of four days, but her bravery, concern for others, and this wonderful reminder to hold God’s hand daily inspire me to carry on.