From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

I have had many friends and family go through treatment for cancer. I have always been healthy until recently and now have been diagnosed with cancer myself. I have tried to always encourage others facing this dreadful disease but now my own words as a Christian don’t seem to be sufficient for me. It makes me feel selfish but also insincere. Where have I gone wrong?

— C.F.

Dear C.F.: For those who have enjoyed good health most of their lives this is not unusual. One of the many lessons learned through health crises is how better to help others going through similar valleys of despair. That is why it is always wise to be a good listener when others are suffering. There isn’t much that can be said to those who are hurting and we should ask God for wisdom — when to be silent and when to speak. Often it is not the words we say as much as encouraging others with our presence.

The Bible reminds us that there is a time for everything — a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3). So many testimonials speak of how God spoke to them in sickness and their personal faith in Him grew stronger. Someone recently said, “I could have never said this before cancer, but now that I have completed my treatment and am on the road to recovery, I praise the Lord that He used it to open the door to tell others why I hope in the Lord!” Our own inadequacy should drive us to the Lord.

No one knows what a day may bring, but Christians can point to the One who sees us through trials. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).