Being There comes in. Written by Dave Furman (the husband of Gloria Furman, for those ladies out there who have enjoyed her books), this is written from the perspective of both one who is a sufferer and who as a pastor also cares for the suffering. As such he has quite a unique view of the subject.
The book begins by discussing loss. Both the sufferer and the carer experience loss in these situations and many times the loss to the carer is not acknowledged. This loss is real and painful and will often be silently grieved. Furman points the carer to the hope and comfort that is only truly found in the Scriptures.
The first and primary important role of the carer is to be sure that they are walking with the Lord. From whom is the carer getting the strength and desire to care? Is the motivation to care borne out of duty, or pride, or is it borne out of a desire to show the glory of God? Where is the comfort for the carer when their care appears to be unappreciated? "Grow in your love for the Lord, and you will grow in your love for the hurting".
Furman then shows from Scripture how a carer can be a faithful friend, a 'hope dealer' and how to follow the example of Jesus in their sacrificial service to others. The importance and power of prayer is also covered. One challenging chapter deals with the necessity of accepting the faithful rebuke of a friend or not shying of giving rebuke in the right spirit.
A very practical chapter gives a list of 10 don'ts when attempting to care for the suffering, from suggesting the latest miracle oil to blaming their sin for their situation. Some of these don'ts may appear obvious, but it is so easy in well-meaning to offend if the needs of the sufferer are not properly considered.
Furman finishes by discussing the role of the Church in caring for others. The shared burdens, the corporate prayer, and most importantly the preaching of the Gospel.
An afterword is added from Gloria who is able to give a small insight into her journey of caring for Dave and from where she gets the strength she needs for each day.
This is a helpful and easy to read book with its focus firmly on the Gospel and the hope that is found there for both sufferer and carer. And as a bonus, the imagery of the cover picture is fantastic!
Being There by Dave Furman, published by Crossway, £8.99