When You Feel Helpless with a Sick Friend

When You Feel Helpless with a Sick Friend

Lucinda Secrest McDowell

casseroleRecently I have felt utterly helpless in the face of a friend’s illness and suffering. What can I do? With no medical expertise, I usually fall back on that perennial southern prescription – a casserole.

Seriously, beyond the occasional card, visit, meal delivery or volunteer errand, how can we make a difference in the lives of those we love who are sick?

We can bring them to Jesus.

Remember that wonderful story found in Luke 5.17-26? Jesus was teaching  a packed house full of people and the Bible says “the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus” (verse 17).  On the outside, there was a paralyzed man. Though he was gravely ill, this man had faithful friends. And when those “stretcher bearers” couldn’t get their friend anywhere near Jesus, they refused to accept the word ‘impossible.’

They found a way where there seemed to be no way. They climbed up to the roof, removed some tiles and then lowered the stretcher through the roof right down to the feet of Jesus as he was speaking to the gathered assembly (verse 19). Talk about a dramatic entrance!

You see, these companions believed that if they could only get their sick friend to the Master, he would be healed. So they brought him to Jesus. And seeing the faith of these persistent friends, Jesus told the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven and he was to pick up his mat and walk home (verses 19 and 22). This man rose up and went on his way rejoicing!

If you feel helpless in the illness of someone you love, you too can bring them to Jesus.

In prayer.

I was for several years a part of a small, private group called “The Stretcher Bearers” who prayed daily for a friend’s situation that was tragic and dangerous and fraught with impossibilities. Each one of us felt helpless to make a difference. But we brought that family to Jesus daily in prayer.

Today that may be all we can do for our sick loved one. But remember, prayer is powerful. And God always answers. In all our prayers may we always include “Thy will be done.”

rosefrombrierMay I highly recommend to you a marvelous little book for those in chronic pain? It is “Rose from Brier” by Amy Carmichael who herself lived with great pain.  Last year I felt nudged by the Spirit to send a copy of this book to three friends I knew who were experiencing great medical challenges. Each of them responded to me that it arrived at a perfect time and continues to speak to their hearts.

So today I’d like to share with you two poem/prayers from Amy. Feel free to pass them along to others.

For All in Pain

Dear Lord, for all in pain, We come to Thee; Oh, come and smite again, Thine enemy. Give to Thy servants skill, To soothe and bless; And to the tired and ill, Give quietness. And Lord, to those who know, Pain may not cease, Come near, that even so, They may have peace.       ~ Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

She Whom Thou Lovest

She whom Thou lovest, blessed Lord, is ill. With Thee is counsel; give Thy servants skill. O Great Physician, touch her and restore, As Thou hast done before.

roseamyWe would not press Thee, for Thou knowest well, Our need of her  that word could never tell. We would not press Thee, as if all unproved, Thy love for Thy beloved.

But as in eventide in Galilee, They brought their sick, we bring her unto Thee; And from the depths we pray: do Thou fulfill, For us, for her, Thy will. ~ Amy Carmichael (1867-1951)

under the mercy, Cindy

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

dwellingplacescoverabingdonYou might enjoy my upcoming book Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Abingdon Press, June 2016. Available in Paperback and Hardcover.

Preorder from Amazon HERE

Preorder from ChristianBook HERE

Preorder from AbingdonPress HERE

Website/Blog www.EncouragingWords.net

NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!


  1. Betsy West on January 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    This came at a perfect time for me! I have a friend really struggling with cancer right now. I’m going to get her the Amy Carmichael book. She will really love it. Thank you!😘

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. lucindamcdowell on January 28, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you, Betsy. Hope it is an encouragement to your friend. Believe it or not, I could only send “gently used” copies (found online) to my friends but I don’t think that bothered them at all…

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