Articles, Cancer, Endurance for the Journey, Featured, Guilt

Bear the Burden, Lighten the Load

Finding ways to help a friend bear the burden of traumatic injury or serious illness is challenging, but not necessarily difficult. What a hurting friend needs most is your thoughtful heart and faithful commitment. When we’re in the midst of our own busy schedules, it is easy to overlook some of the simple, practical ways we can sup port and encourage a friend who carries the burden of suffering. Consider some of these possibilities:

Write down your friend's medical appointments on your personal planner or calendar. Then call to see how the visit went. Be the friend who shares the anxiety of these visits.

Kim Jones, Monument, CO

Send an anonymous greeting card or postcard every week for a year to a person you know is struggling. On the final card, suggest that the person continue the same anonymous ministry to someone they know.

Scott Richardson, New York, NY

Set up a fax network to keep people informed of your loved one’s health status, especially in churches you may have attended. Keep people informed and aware of how to pray most effectively.

Bob Hazen, Omaha, NE

Some time after the crisis is over, send your personal prayer journal to your friend, revealing all the prayers you’ve prayed for him or her.

Ruth Spaethe, San Clemente, CA

It can be difficult to continually be on the receiving end of encouragement, so send cards, gifts, or money anonymously to spare the recipient the task of writing yet another thank you note.


The extra responsibilities of the Christmas holidays can be an over whelming burden to individuals and families who are dealing with ill ness. Offer to wrap your friend’s Christmas gifts, or even to shop for gifts if your friend isn’t able to. What a relief it can be to know that wrapped gifts will be under the tree!

Jan Hoogenhuis, Pine Island, NY

One of my friends baked chocolate chip cookies for me every week during a period of grief.

Dee Martz, Colorado Springs, CO

Decorate a friend’s hospital room with his or her favorite Scripture verses or poems lettered on large pieces of paper or poster board.

Kathy Lance, Colorado Springs, CO