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photo: canva.com

Visit widows and orphans…I was sick and you visited me… These are the two quotes that popped into my head when I heard today’s prompt. As a nurse, I have seen the power of encouragement when a friend or relative comes to visit and thinks of the sick person. Sometimes they bring an appropriate gift. Often they come with encouraging words and stay just long enough to not wear out their friend.

As a nurse, I have seen the power of encouragement when a friend or relative comes to visit and thinks of the sick person. Click To Tweet

Other times, the visit is more for the family member than for the sick person…because they are that ill. Often they are unaware of their surroundings. Being able to visit and encourage, even distract the friend for awhile can be helpful. It all depends on what your level of friendship is.   stop

In Texas, I had a few very close friends that I could visit with in this way. We could cheer each other up and distract each other from what was actually happening. Or we could be serious and cry together too! It all depended on what was needed at the moment.

How I was well-cared for in sickness by a friend

One special friend came and laid on my bed with me after I had a seizure instead of continue on with the fun event we had planned with a group of friends. I interrupted the fun by having a seizure in the car. She brought me home, laid me on the bed and laid beside me until I woke up. (Ron was away.) When I woke up somewhat disoriented, she told me what happened. Then we laid on the bed and talked off and on for much of the afternoon. What a gift! There is nothing so lonely as waking up from a seizure with a chewed up tongue, knowing you have lost a few hours of your life. Then trying to put back your orientation as you try to remember where you are, what day it is, etc. Having someone take time out of her day to stay with me was a wonderful treasure!

A tender visit that considers the needs of the one being visited, is a sweet gift. James describes it as “pure and undefiled religion”

These days, I’m not sure we take seriously the importance of visiting. It is a powerful tool of encouragement for the sick and disheartened. The James passage below describes it in terms of part of our pure religion! That is powerful. I wonder if it has more to do with putting the needs of someone else ahead of my own personal agenda?

What about the widow/single mom/divorced woman who is struggling with aspects of her new role?

Maybe taking time to think of the widow/single mom/divorced woman who is lonely and feels rejected and alone as they struggle to do jobs that they didn’t have to do before along with adjusting to their new roles. Learning new aspects of managing money, caring for a car, being alone, and a host of other aspects of adjustments for these changes leave her often feeling very vulnerable.

Sometimes, the visit is for the caretaker/family member who spends hours waiting for the family member to improve or caring for them as they continue to deteriorate.

And the sick and their care-taking loved ones? Do we think of them and their needs over our own? Sometimes it is chronic disease they are struggling with that is easily overlooked and forgotten or the gradual failing that comes with advanced age or sudden, serious disease that may be life-threatening. All take tolls on both the patient and their family. Fear of the future attacks easily. They wonder what is ahead. No one can tell them everything will turn out okay. We can point them to Jesus who is caring for them. We can wrap our arms around them and show we care for them. We can help them with the practical things they need to do until their lives get more normal again….Yet so often, we find it easy to continue our lives making little or no time to call or visit them to encourage or help them.

And the sick and their care-taking loved ones? Do we think of them and their needs over our own? Click To Tweet

I am convicted of places I need to change today

Personally, I was convicted about this only today when I realized how little I had done to encourage a friend who recently had bypass surgery. Yes, I have been trying to encourage my own husband, but I can get away. I could have made a way to go see her. But I forgot. I got busy. Yada, yada. The excuse list can get long.

The truth is, I didn’t do it. It isn’t something legalistic I need to do to check off. It is something I want to do for her sake and mine. But I have gotten busy doing all kinds of things that need to be done and not done something important and valuable…visiting someone who is sick and recovering. Someone who needs encouragement.

No, I’m not going to wallow in guilt. I will repent of my ways and move forward and visit her…very soon. My religion needs to be real and down to earth. I’ve been too self-centered and I need to change.

What about you?

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
then he will sit on his glorious throne.
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

I was naked and you clothed me,
I was sick and you visited me,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

 Then the righteous will answer him, saying,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?

And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?

And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will answer them,
‘Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:31, 33-40