Walking through Suffering with a Loved One
with Robin Bertram
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” Yet when it comes to the end of life, many face it with fear and despair. Perhaps you have already walked through this process with a loved one, or you may be walking through this with him right now. How do you comfort someone who is facing a terminal illness or the end of life?
Robin Bertram, former television host, a seasoned conference speaker and the author of the new book Hidden Treasures, has personally experienced this as well.
Bertram struggled with a serious health issue for a year and a half. After being given four potential diagnoses from the Mayo Clinic, the verdict was there was no treatment, no medicine and no cure. Doctors gave her two years to live and an agonizing path to death.
“It was within that year-and-a-half battle for my own health that I wrote this book,” Bertram said. “I remembered all the lessons learned from 25 years of prayer ministry, all those I had personally ministered to, and put them on paper. “
Through her years of prayer ministry, Bertram talked with people from all walks of life, facing all types of suffering.
“In each of those cases, God was at work, but we didn’t always recognize that until after the fact,” she explains. “Those times when God works in the midst of our pain and suffering are the ‘treasures’ I’m talking about. And one key aspect that I try to stress throughout [Hidden Treasures] is to help people recognize those treasures as they are occurring, rather than simply acknowledging them retrospectively. In doing so, those who are ill, as well as their families and friends, are better able to cope with what is happening, and fully embrace the nearness of God to their circumstance.”
No one is meant to walk through suffering alone. Here are some ways you can be present for your loved one when facing life’s difficulties.
Take time. Coordinate a visiting schedule with family and friends. According to Bertram, “Consistency brings comfort and peace. When you line out a schedule, your loved one will anticipate the visit, giving him something to look forward to and something to expect.”
Make memories together. In Hidden Treasures, Bertram gives specific examples of ways to make lasting memories for the entire family, whether young, middle aged or seniors.
“This is the time to put things on hold and do what will mean the most for your loved one,” she explains. “It might be taking a trip to Disney for a child or reminiscing with old friends from the past for an elderly.”
Share the gospel. Bertram says, “When individuals face such extreme suffering and pain, they are usually more receptive to hear the truth. They now need a foundation to stand on like never before. It is the greatest gift you can give them.” If your loved one does not know Jesus, tell him about Jesus, or find a pastor or friend who can share the truth with him.
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