I have the pleasure today of welcoming Elizabeth Johnson to jana’s three dresses. Elizabeth and I have become friends online. We share a common interest in understanding how suffering fits into the gospel – trying in our finite minds to understand how God uses everything, even our suffering, to honor him and to bless us.
A gifted writer and teacher, Elizabeth spends her time writing and sharing her story at Dog Fur and Dandelions.
This week she is promoting Touching the Hem in a variety of ways. Please visit her book page to learn how you can get your own copy and share with others.
Without further ado, here is Elizabeth in her own words.
Back problems, chronic illness, broken bones, degenerative disease… they all have one thing in common. They all change your life completely.
Illness and injury can force you in an unfamiliar direction. Physical suffering can turn your world upside down and make you question everything you ever believed in.
How do you respond to it? Prayer? Stoic acceptance? Denial? Splurging on comfort? Withdrawal?
More specifically, how does God say you should respond to it? Does His Word say anything about living with illness, or seeking healing? How should a Christian deal with these things?
God’s Word contains all we need for life and godliness. Including life-altering physical suffering.
When I was diagnosed with an incurable disease back in 2007, my world was turned upside down and my own plans for life were completely obliterated. Suddenly I was no longer the active college grad, involved in church ministry and full-time work and social life. I could no longer work outside the home. I spent my days resting, regaining strength, and trying to find a new normal.
And I began wondering how to respond to it all.
I went searching for resources about dealing with sickness in a biblical manner. I looked for books about healing which corresponded with Scripture. And 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.
And it’s written for you! It’s for all of you who have struggled with the same questions I did. For all of you who have been startled by that life-altering injury or disease. And for you who have watched loved ones suffer in pain, day after day and year after year. For you who have been overwhelmed by physical grief.
Touching the Hem begins with an overview of who God is — because we cannot accurately interpret our circumstances, or respond to them biblically, until we know and believe that He is who He claims to be. It considers His character, the names given to Him throughout Scripture, His short ministry here on earth, and His eternal works of atonement and glorification.
It then transitions from looking upward at God, to looking outward at our circumstances: Why do we face physical suffering in this world? Where does it come from? What examples do we have of those who have suffered?
Finally, it considers our personal response, based on biblical instruction. 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 all of that together in about 160 pages. It also includes practical suggestions for dealing with illness, and suggestions for further reading.
I pray that God will minister through Touching the Hem to those who are suffering, providing comfort and hope in your pain. I would love to hear if it’s been an encouragement, or if you have any questions about the topic. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on Facebook or Twitter.
Father God, I lift up Elizabeth and her ministry at Dog Fur and Dandelions to You today. May your grace and mercy abound as she continues to be obedient to your calling on her life. Please use Touching the Hem for your glory. May we all continue to seek wisdom and understanding of the mysteries contained in your Word. We are all broken and in need your love and grace. Thank you, Lord, for people like Elizabeth who desire to reach out to others with your love. Amen.
purposed for community,