How to Be a Friend to the Chronically Ill


My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Today, I share another Psalm that uplifts the chronically ill. I hope that it will uplift you as well.

Read Psalm 41

Being a friend to the poor and sick is a blessing

Psalm 41 friendship
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Blessed is he who considers the poor;

The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive,

And he will be blessed on the earth;

You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness;

You will sustain him on his sickbed.

Psalm 41:1-3

If you are chronically ill, you may read these verses and wonder, “Yeah, so why aren’t people reaching out to me?” I would venture to say that it is attuned to the loneliness of any kind. We want people to reach out to us and be a friend but we seldom consider that perhaps we should do the reaching out.

I recall, in my younger days, when I would get so lonesome. I lived 1,000 miles from home and at times it was too much to bare. But my mother would tell me to go and do something for someone else. Lo, and behold, I would find such joy in getting my mind off of myself and onto others. What a blessing!

Being a friend not only blesses the one in need but also the one serving. I recall many times visiting nursing homes and coming away blessed beyond measure. You go thinking you will be the one doing the encouraging but you find yourself being encouraged.

But I Can’t Go Out Visiting

The poor intended, are such as are poor in substance,

weak in bodily strength, despised in repute, and desponding in spirit.

These are mostly avoided and frequently scorned.”


Yes! It is hard to take that first step. Maybe you feel that you won’t know what to say. But my friend, just being there is all that is required. One small kindness makes a world of difference in your own outlook on life. And God is pleased by your actions and when it is your turn to have times of trouble, He will be there for you! And he will sustain you on your own sickbed. What goes around, comes around!

Consider this:

  • Can you make a phone call?
  • Can you write a note of encouragement?
  • Do you have any crafting abilities that will bless others?
  • Can you encourage people on social media?

Why I am sick, Lord?

Psalm 41:4 But as for Me mercy

As for me, I said: “O Lord, have Mercy on me! He me, for I have sinned.”

Psalm 41:1 NET

I am always quick to refute that any illness or bad fortune is due to our own sin. Many righteous people have suffered illness and times of trouble. Jesus said, “In this world, we WILL have trouble.” Our sinfulness likely has nothing to do with it. (Possibly the sins of others have caused it.)

However, I find that it is always, always good to examine ourselves when trials come.

  • Where have I failed the Lord?
  • How can I improve my relationship with HIm?
  • Is there any sin in my life that must be removed?

It was the first place I looked when chronic pain came into my life. I did find room for improvement. I did find I needed to call out to God and ask for mercy. And I now say with King David, “It was good to have been afflicted that I might learn of your statutes.” – Psalm 119:71 Truly, I am much closer to God than ever before in my life. I am humbled that I went through 50 years of living in such a mediocre relationship with Him.

A final note on this topic, sickness or not, self-examination is key to the Christian life. It’s a good thing to do perhaps at Lent when we stop and realize what Jesus did for us. It’s humbling, for certain.

There’s More to this Psalm

Well, I’m out of space for this week, but we will finish looking at this Psalm the next time.

Bye for now,


Other “But As For Me” Posts

Intentionally Boast in the Cross

Wellness: Becoming Intentionally Evergreen

How to Pray in the Morning – David’s Reverant Prayer

Other Posts on Friendship

How Can You Help Someone With Chronic Pain?

Four Ways to Support Grieving Friends


About Mandy Farmer

Pastor's Wife (retired) &  Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.

View all posts by Mandy Farmer

6 Comments on “How to Be a Friend to the Chronically Ill”

  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Mandy. And thank you for being that friend to me also. His Word is so true for us–He does bring such blessings as we extend the comfort that He has given to us. And I am so grateful for the gifts He has given through the storms of life too.

  2. It really does help to take our minds off ourselves and reach out to help someone else, if only to offer a smile. Our Lord is always with us, and I, too, have drawn closer to Him in affliction. He is my refuge, my rock, my stronghold. What a blessed Savior we have! Blessings to you! xo

  3. Mandy, you share so many great thoughts here. Whether or not we deal with chronic illness, we should self-evaluate so we can stay close and grow closer with Jesus. And, if I’m being honest, too many times, I’ve waited for someone to reach out to me. Your suggestion to be the first one to reach out requires a little courage, but God can open doors to relationship when we take the first step.

  4. Oh, you are so right! It does take courage. Lord, give us the courage to reach out first and be a friend before we have a friend. Thanks for dropping by and giving me your encouragement

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