How would you respond to a life-changing illness?
I’d never thought much about it, until I was faced with the question personally in 2007. I was a recent college grad, engaged to a wonderful man, and involved in every activity possible. And then I got horribly sick, and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
Almost a year went by before I finally ended up being admitted to the hospital, practically comatose, around 2 AM on Easter Sunday. Finally, a good team of doctors was focused on figuring out what was wrong with me. They ran tests — MRI’s, biopsies, blood-work, and I’m not sure what else — and within a few days, they diagnosed me with a rare disease called Wegener’s Granulomatosis.
Basically, my immune system went into overdrive and started attacking my body. And the treatment to fix that is a nasty combination of immuno-suppressants and corticosteroids (ie, daily chemo pills and prednisone). Some of the side effects are as bad as the initial disease!
I walked out of the hospital (or rather, rode out in a wheelchair) about a week later, overjoyed to be alive. But as I settled back at home, I realized my life would never be the same again. Wegener’s is a life-long thing. It can be treated, but not cured, and can flare up at any time without warning. I could no longer work, hang out with friends, or spend much time at all expending physical or mental energy.
Life had changed, and I wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
I went searching for books to help me handle things in a biblical manner, but I didn’t find much. So I decided to study it out for myself.
Touching the Hem: a Biblical Response to Physical Suffering is the result of that study.
It’s a primer for responding biblically to any sort of suffering, but especially life-changing physical illness or injury, and it’s for all of you who have asked the same questions I did. You who have suffered, and wondered how to glorify God in your suffering. You who have feared to ask if healing was possible. You who have been overwhelmed by physical grief.
Touching the Hem considers the questions of how to respond to sickness or injury, whether God still heals those things today, and how to seek that healing if He does.
It starts with a thorough look upward, at who God is, and what He has done and will do for His creation (mankind). We cannot accurately interpret our circumstances, or respond to them in a correct manner, until we know and believe that He is who He claims to be. Thus, before looking at our suffering, we must first build a solid foundation of God’s character and names throughout Scripture, Christ’s ministry here on earth, and His eternal works of atonement and glorification.
It then looks outward, considering our present circumstances in light of God’s character and works. It dives deeply into questions like: Why do we face physical suffering in this world? Where does it come from? What examples do we have of those who have suffered?
Only after looking upward and outward does it turn the gaze inward to our personal response, and how to continue living according to a biblical response. God’s Word contains specific commands to remain steadfast in prayer and faith. It includes principles to follow in any circumstances, but especially in physical affliction. It even offers guidance about seeking faith healers or attending healing services.
Touching the Hem brings everything together in about 160 pages. It also includes practical suggestions for dealing with illness, and suggestions for further reading.
My prayer is that this book could help other men and women in their own struggles with illness or injury, encouraging and building up their spirits in the knowledge of God and His Word. For that reason, I created a FREE downloadable study guide to help you dig deeper into God’s words on this topic — find it at TouchingtheHemBook.com.
It would be a great way to study through the book on your own, as part of your quiet time with God, or with a friend or small group. There’s 23 entries, so it would give you just over 3 weeks of thought-provoking material. Each entry has a few observation questions (knowing the facts), a handful of application questions (personalizing the truths), a few notes about praying, and a relevant hymn suggestion.
- Length: 160 pages, incl. 4 appendices
- ISBN: 978-1620202050
- ASIN: B00CSXYCE2
- Publisher: Ambassador International
- Available in paperback & digital formats: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD