Why You Should Bring a Meal to a Friend Who Is Ill, Even If You Are Ill

Every chronically ill person needs to occasionally be asked, “When would it be convenient for me to bring a meal?” even though they don’t look ill.

“The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’” (1 Kings 19:7)

What is one of our most favorite things to hear when the whole illness thing is bringing us down? “I am going to bring a meal this week. How is Thursday night? Can you eat lasagna or chicken?” Ah. . . food.

What is it about food that makes us feel all taken care of? Even Elijah, who was so depressed about his circumstances that he asked God to just end his life, was told by the angel, “eat.” When the journey of illness is too much for us, just like Elijah felt his calling was, we are told that food is part of healing our body to gain strength.

I have seen most people who are chronically ill themselves, bring a meal to a friend who is ill, when they are able. They understand that it is a token of saying “Someone is watching out for you. I hope this brings you strength.”

During Invisible Illness Awareness Week have reminded people, if you have a friend who has a chronic illness, tell her you would like to bring a meal every now and then. Most of us who deal with the pain of chronic illness could literally go years without needing surgery or hospitalization–times when people usually bring a meal. But we still become burned out, dealing with a lot of pain and fatigue.

When you bring a meal it is an acknowledgment that you understand her illness impacts her life significantly. Many friends of those with illness will ask, “Is there anything I can do?”

Uh, we aren’t going to say, “Yeah, cook my family dinner this week, okay?” So when we are asked, “What do you need? Would you like me to bring dinner over?” We may jump at the chance and say yes. But then again. . . we look around our house and think, “Well, I was able to fold some clothes this morning. I have a frozen pizza I can toss in the oven if I have to. I mean, I don’t have the flu or anything, so what is she going to think when she shows up with dinner and the house looks like I was able to actually clean it. (Gasp! She may think I am exaggerating my pain!)

So, more often than not, we will just, say, “No, that’s okay. You don’t need to do that.”

And then we hang up the phone and think, “Bummer. Now I have to find something to cook for dinner and I really need to just. . . find. . . a bed.

So, instead of asking an ill friend, “Do you need dinner?” just insist. Say, “Is __(fill in your favorite meal here)___ okay? Is there anything you can’t eat? Do you have any allergies?” And then tell her what time you will be dropping it by.

Remember, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40) I always tell my son Jesus is sitting on the throne telling the angel Gabriel, “Hey, check out what Joshua just did for that person.” Jesus knows your pain, He knows your fatigue, but I am sure He will turn to Gabriel and say, “Wow! Lasagna? She is plain worn out and in a lot of pain, but she made a lasagna for that family who was in need. That’s my child, always thinking of others.”

Prayer: God, sometimes I get so focused on what my needs are I forget that I am still called by You to reach out to others who are hurting. Whether it is to bring a meal to a friend or just call someone who is hurting today, nudge my heart when I need to respond in a tangible way with the overflowing love You have given to me. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She invites you to join the virtual conference this week for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. You can see the books Lisa has poured her heart into over the years, especially her first book, Mosaic Moments: Devotionals For The Chronically Ill at the Rest Ministries shop.

Do you ever bring a meal to someone who is going through a tough time? Do you have any recipes that are easy to make that everyone loves? Tell us about it!

Are you needing to bring a meal to a friend? Why not make it look a bit cute too? Check out Rest Ministries Free Meal Delivery Printable Labels to Give A Special Touch and our Pinterest board on

Looking for a great recipe? We’ve pinned over 30 of them at our Pinterest board, “Bringing Meal Ideas.” You don’t have to be a “member” to see.

Do you want to help us spread the word about Invisible Illness Awareness Week?


Things TO SAY to an ill person #6 I’m bringing dinner Thursday. Can you eat lasagna or chicken? #iiwk12

PIN IT! Join us at Pinterest for chronic illness tips and goodies. We hope you will help us pin our tips reaching out to those with chronic illness to help spread the word.

One thought on “Why You Should Bring a Meal to a Friend Who Is Ill, Even If You Are Ill

  1. Pingback: Illness in the Family « Growing Christian Woman

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