When You Have a Serious Illness

When You Have a Serious Illness

“When I learned that I had cancer in my lung and colon, I thought that I had just received a death sentence. But after I got home from the doctor, I thought, ‘OK, it’s not what I expected, but I have to find a way to deal with this.’”​—Linda, aged 71.

“I suffer from a debilitating nerve syndrome on the left side of my face. On occasion, the severe pain has caused me to fall into depression. Many times, I felt alone and even contemplated suicide.”​—Elise, aged 49.

IF YOU or a loved one has been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness, you know how distressing it can be. In addition to the disease itself, you have to deal with fragile emotions. Fear and anxiety can be intensified by nerve-racking medical appointments, difficulty obtaining or paying for treatment, or the unpleasant side effects of medications. The mental anguish associated with serious illness can be overwhelming.

Where can we turn for assistance? Many have found that their greatest comfort comes from leaning on God in prayer and reading comforting passages found in the Bible. Another help may come through the love and support that family and friends can provide.


“Face illness with your faith in God,” advised 58-year-old Robert, “and he will carry you through. Go to Jehovah in prayer. Let him know how you feel. Ask him for holy spirit. Ask him for strength to be strong for the family and to allow you to go through your illness with dignity.

“It means so much when your family supports you emotionally, when they are there for you. I get phone calls every day from one or two who ask, ‘How are you doing?’ I get encouragement from friends all over. They definitely give me a boost, and that helps me to keep going.”

If you are a friend visiting a sick person, note what Linda points out: “The patient no doubt wants to lead as normal a life as possible and may not always want to talk about the sickness. So talk about the things you usually talk about.”

With strength from God and comfort from the Scriptures, as well as the support of loving family and friends, we can maintain our assurance that life is worth living, even when we are enduring a serious illness.