When the feared health diagnosis is now our loved one’s reality, knowing how to care for them can be overwhelming. Suddenly, our lives can become consumed with questions, and the suffering of the one we love can make it difficult to know how to move forward. But sometimes, the best demonstration of care is not providing solutions but helping them to bear their suffering. Being present in our loved one’s time of hardship can help them to feel seen, safe, and loved, leaving a legacy of care that impacts more than you and the one you are helping.

Recently, as I was walking through the grocery store with my mom, a passerby stopped me with tears in her eyes. “What you are doing is so good, and I wish I had done it for my mom.” I did not feel so heroic helping my mom grocery shop, but when the passerby hugged me and thanked me for the example, I realized that serving my mom left a legacy of care for others. It is the small things we do that add up to so much when we are willing to carve time out to help someone in need, even though they might not admit their need. Caring for the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of others in the face of challenging health diagnoses is what Jesus has called us to do.

Caring for their Emotional Needs

The rollercoaster of emotions that flow after a health diagnosis of a loved one is an opportunity to be a good listener. The unknowns that are part of a new health diagnosis can feel insurmountable, but caring for the emotional needs of others encountering suffering helps to share their burden. Demonstrating love through thoughtful gestures, texts, or calls helps them to know they are seen and not forgotten. Even when they might not demonstrate gratitude, when we serve humbly and don’t take their struggles personally, we help them feel emotionally safe. Having a consistent routine helps to ease anxiety and build confidence that you will weather this storm with them.

Caring for their Physical Needs

Caring for their physical needs might mean rolling our sleeves up and serving in ways we have not before. Sometimes, people can feel incapacitated after a diagnosis and not know how to function. Helping in everyday normal tasks yet encouraging them to try to do what they can helps them not to become paralyzed in their suffering. When we do tasks such as grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, setting up medications, cleaning, and whatever needs we recognize that are undone, care is not just known but shown. What seems like mundane tasks becomes holy work in the service of others and helps them heal.

Caring for their Spiritual Needs

Caring for someone’s spiritual needs might mean deviating from your normal routine, attending church with them, or canceling plans to brighten their day. Sharing verses or resources to help them fix their eyes on God rather than their suffering or discovering what encourages them can help them to rise above their diagnosis momentarily. Bringing a word of encouragement can help people to hope amid what seems to be a hopeless situation. When we care for someone’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, we care for their whole being.

Leaving a legacy of care goes beyond the here and now. And when we care for our loved ones in the hard times, we leave a legacy of care that speaks volumes to those around us.

Denise Pass serves as the Digital Marketing Director for Jeff Rogers and is the author of Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life, Shame Off You, and other books and resources helping people overcome the battles of the mind with the word of God through her ministry, Seeing Deep Ministries. Currently pursuing her Ph. D. in Biblical Exposition, Denise has a podcast and Bible reading plan, The Bible Tribe.