"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22a).

To a child, there is only one thing worse than being sick in the winter, and that's being sick during the summer. After all, who wants to lie on the couch when everyone else in the family is having fun playing outside? As I looked at the purple, yellow, and red bottles of medicine in my bathroom cabinet, I heard my young son cry out from the living room couch, "Mom, please don't give me any of those terrible tasting things. They're just going to make me sicker." Although he had been running a fever through the night, I realized my patient wasn't as ill as I previously thought. Ignoring his pleas, I continued to administer the necessary medicine and turned to go back to my work in the kitchen. Grabbing my hand, my son said, "Mom, do you think you could just sit with me for a while?"

"Sure," I replied. "How about if I read one of your favorite books to you?" Nodding his head in agreement, I proceeded to sit on the floor in front of the couch and spent the next half hour reading The Pilgrim's Progress. After reading several chapters and talking with my son, I noticed a smile on his face and his relaxed posture. "Are you feeling better now?" I asked.

"Oh yes, Mom," he responded cheerfully. Giving him a hug and a smile, I realized the best medicine I had given him that morning was a happy attitude, my time, and love.

Everyone needs someone to sit and listen when life brings difficult times. Whether it's facing an illness or some other problem, an understanding ear and a kind word go a long way in relieving the suffering of a friend. Unfortunately, that type of medicine can't be purchased from a store. Rather, it comes from a sensitive and loving heart that truly cares about the needs of others.

Is there someone you know who is ill or hurting from life's problems? Chances are you're the nurse God could use to make that person well. Go to the medicine chest of God's Holy Word to find just the right encouragement. Then, sit and take all the time necessary to administer the best tasting medicine. "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

Lord, You are the Great Physician who knows all our hurts and pains. Please, help me to bring Your healing words of love and encouragement to my family and friends today. In the name of Jesus, Amen.