What hurting patients need is someone who will honestly listen to them, understand their feelings, and not hasten to change the subject.
My introduction to local church ministry, nearly twenty-five years ago, was a baptism by fire, or perhaps I should say, by sickness. A number of people in the church were hospitalized, and I went to visit, to encourage, to pray. But I felt horribly out of place.
This was a world of science and medicine. What good could I possibly do? Of what value were Scripture and prayer compared to surgery, therapies, and miracle drugs? I was intimidated. Still, I faithfully visited the sick and sat with their families during those critical hours in surgery when things could go either way.
I did what I thought was expected of me—administered Scripture and prayer. Not knowing what else to do, I simply tried to be there. I listened without saying much, mostly because I didn't feel I had a lot worth saying.
Then I began receiving thank-you notes. "It meant ...1