Caring for the sick can be a burden or a calling. And sometimes it seems like both simultaneously.
Whether working in medicine or as the primary caregiver for a parent, at times I felt overwhelmed. In those times, I’ve found the following Bible verses especially helpful. My prayer is that they will also help you.
1) “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 (NKJV)
After caring for a particularly difficult angry patient, I felt abused and unloved.
The verbal abuse can be simply awful. And when there’s no one else, the caregiver can’t just walk away.
The Apostle John writing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit calls you and me “Beloved.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines beloved as one who is “dearly loved.”
Does it get any better than knowing He dearly loves you? There have been days when that knowledge gave me the strength to go back to face an otherwise impossible patient.
2) “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30 (NKJV)
How often does a caregiver feel her burden is overwhelming? Too often.
Repeatedly turning those burdens and cares over to Him is one way I found hope and strength in difficult times. And whether you turn them over once a day-or more than once a minute-He is always there to take them. Making your load bearable.
3) “… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)
Care giving can be lonely. Especially on the late shift or a long weekend when it seems like everyone else is away.
I remember the first time this verse inspired me. I was working far into the night as the only medical intern on call. My backup supervisors were unavailable-or perhaps unwilling-to ease my load. Even in a hospital full of people, I felt alone.
Then I remembered this verse. It brought immediate comfort. I grabbed its promise-that I was not alone-and clung to it. You can too.
4) “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)
Sometimes it just helps to know that your current situation is temporary. Whether I needed to hang on until the end of my shift or for days, this verse inspired me to keep going.
5) “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
People will sometimes fail us, but He will not.
When I felt betrayed by someone I trusted, this verse helped me. If Joseph could see the good in the situation after his brothers had sold him into slavery, surely I could see the good in my situation.
And yes, feeling betrayed and deceived was hard. But through it I learned about people, and received the wisdom to recognize danger signals and avoid similar problems in the future.
6) “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Caregivers are asked to do the seemingly impossible.
If you’re a caregiver, you know what I mean. This verse gave me strength for the seemingly impossible. And combined with the other verses listed in this article, it gave me hope and courage to face another day.
My hope and prayer is that you find comfort and strength from them too.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1990 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
beloved. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beloved (accessed: June 24, 2010).