Friday, April 25, 2008

Ministering To Those With Cancer

Where to begin? What to say? These are just a few random thoughts about how to minister to believers who have cancer.

1. They are first of all not believers with cancer; rather they are believers. That may seem like splitting hairs but the point needs to be made. When we talk with them we may want to focus on how they are doing with their cancer or how they are feeling. As difficult as that is (and it can be extremely difficult) there is a spiritual battle that is being waged fought in many areas including trust in the sovereign ways of God. That leads us to how we minister to believers with cancer - that is we come alongside of them as brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to encourage them through genuine Christian fellowship. Sometimes it is just listening; sometimes it is praying with them or praying quietly for them while you are listening; or sometimes it is providing practical help with providing meals or cleaning their house or doing yard work or caring for the children for a while. Pray for wisdom that God will give you insight as you make a phone call or talk with them at church - and God will lead.

2. When you approach the believer with cancer, they may have already talked about their health with 10 people beforehand and are a little tired of discussing their medical health with everyone they meet. There is a fine line between caring and smothering. They are not only going through cancer but they are also a mother, a wife, a believer, a employee - whatever it may be. Focus on the whole person.

3. Laugh with them. God has given moments of laughter and we do not need to be so "spiritual" with them that we lose our joy.

4. Share your life - not in a comparison sort of way but in a "you can pray for me in this area" sort of way. In other words, be real - they want to help you and minister to you as God gives them strength.

5. Pray often for them in your heart. Psalm 63.1: O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water. They are in a dry and weary land. As you talk with those who have cancer, weariness can be their greatest experiences - appointments, effects from treatment, anxiety concerning their family, etc. Pray that their soul would be fed by God - He is the great provider and comforter.

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