“Touching The Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Suffering” by Elizabeth A. Johnson is rich in the doctrinal foundations of our Christian faith. The author walks us first through God’s character and attributes such as His faithfulness, goodness and sovereignty. She exhorts her readers to study and meditate upon the Word of God.
She then looks at the work of God through His Son Jesus Christ. Taking us to scripture she shares the accounts of Christ’s healings and of those who physically suffered but God’s Word makes no mention of their healing. As an example, she writes:
“While some of those men and women certainly died as a result of their afflictions-for instance, many of the prophets were tortured to death-and God was still faithful to them during their suffering.”
Building upon this foundation she then lays out the scriptural principles for healing of prayer and faith. She does not negate the need for doctors and medicines in healing. Exploring so-called “Faith Healers”, she exposes why their “healings” pervert the Word of God bringing glory to man instead of God.
In conclusion Elizabeth writes:
“When healing does not come, we must still remain steadfast in faith and doctrine. We must continue in prayer for ourselves and others, as He commands. We must learn to live rejoicing evermore, giving thanks in everything. Whether we are healthy or sick, comfortable or afflicted, full of life or knocking at death’s door-this is His will for each one of us.”
Elizabeth is not a stranger to physical suffering. In 2007 she was diagnosed with a rare disease, Wegner’s Granulomatosis. One thing that stood out to me in this book is that Elizabeth never has a “woe is me” chapter of all her ailments. Everything she writes points us to God and glorifies Him without ever mentioning the suffering she endures. Get to know more about Elizabeth and be challenged by more of her writings at her website DogFur and Dandelions.
I highly recommend this book not only to sufferers of chronic pain or illnesses but to those who may find themselves ministering to those with sickness.
What scripture has God used to bring comfort and strength
to you through your suffering?