How to Help Your Hopeless, Hurting Friends

Her situation couldn’t have been much more hopeless.

She’d tried it all—filled out endless forms, visited regular doctors, alternative doctors, traveling doctors, wannabe doctors, retired doctors. She’d read, researched, cried, and prayed. She’d taken every medical exam known to man.

And still, over a decade later, there were no answers. Just steady decline. She was growing worse.

There were simply no options left. No more reserves to draw from. She’d spent everything she had—as well as borrowing money from every compassionate soul she could think of.

Not that she cared about the money. She just craved normal, human interaction. How long had it been now? Twelve whole years? Her disease—this never-stopping flow of blood—made her “unclean.” According to the Law, if anyone touched her, they would be defiled.

I know women and girls like her. You probably do, too. They may not be dealing with a twelve-year health struggle, but they are all too familiar with diseased desires and relationships. Stuck. Hopeless. At or nearing the end of their rope. Women and girls we are unable to heal.

Hopeless No More

Just when hope appeared to have run out, someone told this woman about a man like no other: Jesus. Maybe it was a friend of a friend who relayed what Jesus had taught down by the lake one afternoon. Maybe someone in her family knew a neighbor miraculously healed by Him. No matter . . . someone told her about Him.

And that was all it took. She heard with ears of faith. At least enough faith to do a crazy, daring, courageous thing—she elbowed her way to the front of that noisy, jostling crowd to get to Him. To touch Him. She knew she was out of line, but sometimes desperate women have to take desperate measures.

The instant she touched Him, she knew. She was whole. Healed.

She . . . came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease (Mark 5:27–29).

Jesus’ words to her confirmed it:

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34).

She didn’t know it yet, but this Jesus was going to bleed for her. In anticipation of what He was going to do for her on the cross, Jesus declared her whole.

And still He heals and makes whole.

How to Help Your Hopeless Friends

The question for you and me today is have we come to Jesus in faith to be healed of our sin disease? And are we pointing our classmates, friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors to Him so they, too, can experience true healing?

Responding to our friends’ problems with positive thinking or self-help advice is not enough. They need to experience the healing that only Jesus can bring. What broken girl or woman can you point toward Him today?

PS: You can read the entire account of this story in two different places in the Bible: Mark 5:21–43 and Luke 8:40–56.

PPS: I love this hymn about this story in Scripture. Praying it encourages you to seek the Healer today!

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on

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  • Savannah

    That’s been my life recently all my friends have been discouraged and depressed and I almost gave up trying to help thank you so much

    • Ratherbewithgodthentheworld

      I really need some encouragement to have hope my day was not to good people keep talking about things that aren’t christian like.

      • Savannah

        I know how that feels I go to a Christian school but the people there don’t act like Christians and it really bugs me. Bring a Bible to school and when they start talking in a way you don’t like go off and read your Bible.

  • Savannah

    Hey its me again. I need some advice. Today was really hard all my friends are really depressed and I tell them to just smile but today they got really mad what do I do?

    • Jesusfreak17

      My guess is that comment felt insensitive to your friends. They don’t need you to make it better, because the hard truth is you can’t. They need you to be there for them, whether it means listening to them, or telling them about things to take their mind off their problems or just simply being there. Offer to pray for them, and point them towards Christ if they’ll let you. (If they get angry at that, let off a bit. Don’t try to force the Gospel on them. Just let them know you care.) But if not, just pray for them on your own and be there. Trying to make them better might make them resent you, but if you’re just there for them, that will make all the difference in the world. Someday, hopefully, they’ll be ready to smile, but right now isn’t the time.

      • Savannah

        But all my friends the past few days have been like that I feel so drained

        • Jesusfreak17

          That sucks. I would encourage you to pray. Be there for them as much as you can, but also realize that you need God to fill you up so you’re not so drained. Lean on him, and maybe find or rekindle other friendships that can give you what you need to be filled. I would maybe think about trying to find a mentor, an older woman who can pour into you and advise you through whatever stage your in now.

          • Savannah

            That’s a great idea thanks

    • Joana Andres Brito

      Hey, guess we all have our bad days, don’t we? But, didn’t God said to Joshua “Be strong and brave”? I always try to think about it. I have my bad days wt my friends too. Last time it heappened, I sat down wt my friend and just listened. Some times the greatest difference is that you are there, hearing. Depressed people like when they have someone to tell their concearns. And pray wt them and for them ENDLESSLY, God will surely listen and answer, because is what He always did and will always do.
      P. S. Sorry if my english is not good, I’m from Brazil.

      • Savannah

        Thanks but sometimes it just feels awkward to ask to pray with them. I mean we all go to a Christian school but half the people don’t act like it so it becomes awkward.

  • Jesusfreak17

    And for those who are already Christians and still hopeless…?

    • Joana Andres Brito

      Well, think you got to pray. Trust God, believe me, He KNOWS. Christ is our gratest hope ever. Focus on Him, it will be better.

    • Our hope lies not in our circumstances or in the people around us. It is found only in our relationship with God. Romans 15:13 is what I’m praying for you right now:

      “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

  • I don’t know what to do… I believe God has asked me to witness to a few rough looking guys at my school that have the same lunch as me. I have no idea who there are or anything. What do I even say? I feel guilty. It often takes me months or weeks to do what God has asked me to do. How do I do this?

    • Sometimes it isn’t as much what we say as how we live. We encourage you to be kind to this group – smile; offer a word of encouragement; reach out to them in some way. You may not even “say” anything specific about God. But as God reaches out to them through your actions, they will see something different and begin to ask questions. When those questions come, then you can openly share about what Jesus has done in your life. They can’t argue with your story. And it will open a door to share more. I’m praying for you, for your courage, for your boldness and for your witness to these guys.

  • Ruth

    All my neighbors are a diffrent religion so how can I witness any creative ideas 😔🙏

    • Savannah

      I would try to just go at it but I’m not very good at stuff like this

    • As I said to SaltyPhoenix just below, sometimes it isn’t as much what we say as how we live. Be kind to your neighbors, reach out to them by offering a service, a meal, a plate of cookies to demonstrate that you care for them. You might not even say anything at all about God but you will begin to develop a friendship with them where they realize they can turn to you in time of need or come to you with questions. Share openly about your walk with the Lord – how much He means to you, how He is working in your life. They can’t argue with those things. But sharing these things with them can open doors to deeper conversations down the road. And be sure to pray for them, too, Ruth, and be willing to speak boldly when God begins to open those opportunities up for you. I’m praying for you this afternoon.