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Strength - Hope - Faith

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Words of Comfort, or not? April 10, 2017 - Cheryl Barber


  A small six letter word that when spoken fills each of us with fear, uncertainty and sadness. Your whole world seems to tip off its axis.


  How do you tell your family and friends? How will they respond once they know? Will they offer words of comfort, or will they not say anything because they are afraid of upsetting you?


  Unfortunately, it is hard to know what to say when someone we love is diagnosed with cancer. We are suddenly at a loss for words.


  Although we may not know what to say, here are some suggestions to offer comfort and support to our loved ones:


  Let them know that you care for them and will be there for them throughout this journey.

Listen to them. Be supportive of them even if you may not agree with their decisions.


  Offer practical help. Find out their needs and provide for those needs specifi cally. It could be taking them to their doctor appointments, preparing a meal, grocery shopping or running errands.


  Call them often just to say hi and to let them know that you are praying for them.

Send cards or notes of encouragement.

Act normal around them. Talk about other topics not related to the cancer.


  Sadly, because we don’t know what to say, we either don’t say anything or we say things that may be hurtful. That is not our intention, but it happens all too often.


  You should never say the following to a loved one during this time:

I know how you feel. Even though you may have had cancer yourself, there is no way that you could know how another person feels. We are all different. Are you a smoker? Have you been eating healthy foods? Cancer is not a respecter of persons, and any one of us is prone to cancer no matter how we have lived.


How serious is it? Did the doctor say how long you have? To a person with cancer, these statements are very hurtful. Not all cancers lead to death, and most cancers are treatable.


Don’t share another’s story of cancer and their outcome. Cancer is different for everyone.


Call me if you need anything. This puts a burden on the patient, and they will be hesitant to call and ask for help.


  Some diagnosed with cancer find comfort in the Bible. They love to receive cards with a Bible verse reminding them that they are not alone. When sending a card or a note of encouragement, consider including some of these verses:

  1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

  Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

  Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

  Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

  A very dear friend loved this verse. It reminded her that God is always faithful each and every day. Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”


  Randy Powell kept his faith throughout his battle with cancer.

  His wife, Sibyl, gives God all of the credit for going through that journey with them. She said that they did not like receiving negative comments, only positive ones. They loved to hear that someone was praying for them. They never gave up on their faith and trust in God. Randy passed away on Aug. 1, 2016 and is now enjoying his heavenly home free from cancer and pain. Sibyl thanks God every day for always being there. Her advice to others going through this is “Never give up on your faith.”


  She also advises to not offer support if you are not going to follow through. They need to know that they can count on you. In conclusion, be supportive. Your loved one wants to know that you are there for them, while they are on this journey. Just love them, encourage them, and when you can’t fi nd the words to say, a hug often speaks volumes.

Words of Encouragement