Touching the Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Affliction

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 HemTouching 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

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.

Visit for more information!



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31 thoughts on “Touching the Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Affliction

  1. Praise God that you are using your illness to His Glory!

    Unfortunately I have no way of helping financially right now. I can publish this on my blog, although I have a very small following. When I can help financially, I will, and when you do publish it, I promise to hype up spreading out this word!

    1. Julie, thanks for taking the time to comment – that in itself is a support!

      I know many of my readers won’t be able to help financially (hey, I’d be in the same boat!) but I would also appreciate your prayers! Especially for guidance, wisdom, and God’s glory through all of this!

      1. That I can certainly do!

  2. Will share for sure! Love this.

    1. Thank you, friend! Appreciate your support!

  3. That’s a great book idea. I will pray that God would lead in all steps of the process.

    1. Thanks! I really appreciate the prayers!

  4. I’m thrilled that you’ve written this book. Already, I’m looking forward to being blessed by it as I’m sure so many others will be. I know what a hole is there for this type of material. thank you friend!

  5. What a great project! I will pray that adequate funds come in to help you publish this much needed book.

    1. Thanks, Kalyn! I appreciate it!

  6. I have a RA and suffer with some of the symptoms you mentioned in your video, but my disease is not nearly as debilitating, Elizabeth. I will pray for you and am so excited that you are allowing God to “redeem” this problem in your life for the betterment of those who suffer with chronic diseases. I will pray about contributing and am so grateful for your courage and effort in this regard. Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks so much! I especially appreciate the prayers 🙂 May God be glorified through it all!

  7. […] BOOK PROJECT: Have you had a chance to look at this yet? I’ve written a book (the manuscript is already completed & revised!) and am pursuing publication. But I need your help to get it there! […]

  8. This is exciting, Elizabeth. I will certainly share this on my FB page. I loved watching your video and getting to know your voice. You are such a blessing and I know others will be encouraged by your faith, perseverance, and wisdom. Blessings, Jana

    1. Thank you so much, Jana! YOU are an encouragement to me! 🙂

  9. I hope you manage to raise the funding you need, or alternatively the Lord will reveal another means of sharing your manuscript. Every blessing.

    1. Thanks Julie!

  10. Elizabeth, I too loved watching your video and getting to hear your voice. You are such a blessing, and I know that God is going to use your story… all you’ve learned…for His glory! You have my support and prayers. Much love, Jacqui

    1. Aww, Jacqui, thank you so much for your support and encouragement! You are such a blessing! Love ya!

  11. […] To Donate, click here. […]

  12. […] to share with you all. First, thanks to your generous support, the entire $500 has come in for my Book Project! I am in the process of signing a contract with my publisher, and am so excited about seeing this […]

  13. […] And you’ll be able to keep up with my book progress! […]

  14. So awesome, Elizabeth. You’ve got to link up something about this at the end of my Take Heart series this month! The final week is about taking heart in times of physical or emotional/mental illness. And the very story referenced in your title is one in which Jesus says “Take heart.” So excited for you as you see your work come to fruition in this book!

    1. Aw, thanks Darcy! I’m so glad to have connected with you in the Story Circle – looking forward to getting to know you & your blog a bit better!

  15. […] – friends who support your dreams […]

  16. […] the book front, I’m close to finishing Manuscript Revision, Round 1. Then it goes back to my editor, who […]

  17. […] am making some good progress with my book, but I’m also preparing for company and a few other big calendar items over the next few […]

  18. Hi Elizabeth,

    I’m so excited about your new book! I have your e-book and it’s been a great blessing to me. I’ve been battling an illness for the last year that has had its ups and downs. God has been teaching me so much and several of the Scriptures and passages in your e-book have been ones that have the Lord has seared on my heart this year. Every day is not easy but every day is possible since the Lord is with me 🙂 Can’t wait to read your book! PS – found you through Sarah at Joy-filled days 🙂


    1. Kim, your comment was such a blessing to read! It is so encouraging to know God is using these words to minister to His children. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I hope Touching the Hem is a big help to you!!

  19. Great work Elizabeth, I pray God grant you grace and speed for this project and that it will be a blessing to multitudes in need.
    Just like the page!

    1. Aw, thanks so much Ugochi! You are a blessing! 🙂

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