Being religious indicates something very basic: recognizing God as creator and responding with gratitude.
My plea would not only be for understanding and real human sympathy but also for intercession. I cite Job as a model.
One of the refreshing parts of Calvin’s approach to Scripture is his existential realism — he has a thorough appreciation of the Pauline doctrine that all are sinners, and so he is not afraid to see the heroes of the Bible as alloyed with sin and weakness alongside their better qualities.
Now in Holy Week, we remember where we began: with ashes smeared on our foreheads.
How do we encourage people to put themselves into the place of Job, so they see that God is really the one to whom they may need to complain and from whom they need to hear?
In older Anglican prayerbooks, "The Order for the Visitation of the Sicke" instructed the minister to direct an exhortation to the sick person. He or she is to know "certainly" that "your sickness...is God's visitation."