Sometime last year I purchased Brian Croft’s “Visit the Sick: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Illness.” I highly recommend it. There are five chapters:
1. God’s Care for the Sick:Biblical Theology;
2. Spiritual Care for the Sick: Theological Precision;
3. Wise Care for the Sick: Pastoral Implications;
4. Skilled care for the Sick: Practical necessities
5. Community care for the Sick: Equipping the Saints
From the book:
The progression of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation contains an unfolding story line that reveals two key themes: God is sovereign over sickness and healing, and God calls his people to care for the needy and afflicted….
” We must be diligent in visiting the sick, and helping them to prepare either for a fruitful life, or a happy death.” [Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter].
Those who care for the sick must be prepared to have the truth of God’s word on their lips to respond well when faced with difficult circumstances….I recommend meditating and studying through several Scriptures that may encourage the person you are going to see. It may be helpful to think through these passages in categories I use with a few suggested examples:
- Passages of comfort: Psalms 23; 28; 46; 62; 145; Hebrews 4:4-16
- Succinct gospel passages: John 11:25-26; Romans 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:1-10
- Passages dealing with the purpose of suffering for the believer: 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-19
- Passages related to the reality and hope of eternity with Christ: John 10:27-30; 14:1-3; Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Peter 1:3-5
The chief reason I like the book is expressed in this statement: “…if our care is devoid of the hope of the gospel and the promises in God’s word, the hope and encouragement we offer will be nothing more than an illusion.”