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But God, Wouldn't I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy? (Chronic Pain and the Christian Life)

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But God, wouldn’t I be more useful to you if I were healthy? Chronic pain and illness come with many questions. Perhaps no questions cause more confusion than the ones that arise when you are pulled out of a thriving life of work that benefits the world, only to spend your hours, days, and weeks languishing in bed. It just doesn’t make sense. Why, God? Why would you take But God, wouldn’t I be more useful to you if I were healthy? Chronic pain and illness come with many questions. Perhaps no questions cause more confusion than the ones that arise when you are pulled out of a thriving life of work that benefits the world, only to spend your hours, days, and weeks languishing in bed. It just doesn’t make sense. Why, God? Why would you take away my thriving career when it took me years to get to this point? Why would you take away my ability to serve and help and contribute? In this first book in the Chronic Pain and the Christian Life series, explore what it looks like to live a life of work, service, and rest, even when the pain doesn’t go away.


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But God, wouldn’t I be more useful to you if I were healthy? Chronic pain and illness come with many questions. Perhaps no questions cause more confusion than the ones that arise when you are pulled out of a thriving life of work that benefits the world, only to spend your hours, days, and weeks languishing in bed. It just doesn’t make sense. Why, God? Why would you take But God, wouldn’t I be more useful to you if I were healthy? Chronic pain and illness come with many questions. Perhaps no questions cause more confusion than the ones that arise when you are pulled out of a thriving life of work that benefits the world, only to spend your hours, days, and weeks languishing in bed. It just doesn’t make sense. Why, God? Why would you take away my thriving career when it took me years to get to this point? Why would you take away my ability to serve and help and contribute? In this first book in the Chronic Pain and the Christian Life series, explore what it looks like to live a life of work, service, and rest, even when the pain doesn’t go away.

30 review for But God, Wouldn't I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy? (Chronic Pain and the Christian Life)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mikaela

    ~ Audiobook Review ~ This book was so relatable, practical, and hope-giving! I highly recommend! I’ve had these same questions filling my journal for years regarding my Chronic Fatigue, I’d begun to find some answers but was still struggling. Esther was like a wonderful friend who understood and pointed me to scripture and her personal conclusions. It brought a refreshing new perspective on how I now see both rest and service. I found the book balanced and well rounded. Looking at all the aspects, ~ Audiobook Review ~ This book was so relatable, practical, and hope-giving! I highly recommend! I’ve had these same questions filling my journal for years regarding my Chronic Fatigue, I’d begun to find some answers but was still struggling. Esther was like a wonderful friend who understood and pointed me to scripture and her personal conclusions. It brought a refreshing new perspective on how I now see both rest and service. I found the book balanced and well rounded. Looking at all the aspects, starting with biblically studying the hard question in the books title, then what it looks like to rest faithfully, then looking at why we can still serve God faithfully even now in illness/pain, and brainstorming practical ways God could use you and your gifts right where you are at. Series: This was Esther’s first book published and she now has 2 other books (and I’m hoping more to come!) I’ve read the other two and they are definitely worth reading too they are When Chronic Pain & Illness Take Everything Away: How To Mourn Our Losses and the devotional Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith Content: Written by a biblical counsellor this book is strongly focused on seeking Gods word and truth to the many deep questions we face with Chronic Illness. Recommend: To anyone with chronic pain/illness. But also great for church leaders, carers, and friends, anyone who wants to better understand and create opportunities for those with Chronic illness to serve and glorify God with their gifts whilst respecting their limitations. Audio Performance: 10/10 I absolutely loved the way Sarah Carleton read this book. The book is written in a very personal way and Sarah portrayed that perfectly through her tone. I felt connected as though I was having coffee with Esther herself. Sarah has a relaxing and nice voice, it was smoothly read with emotion which kept my attention. And importantly, good sound quality. It’s perfect for brain fog & short concentration span, having kindle+audio helped too. Author: Esther Smith Narrator: Sarah Carleton Length: 1hr 18min (Unabridged) Released: 15-Aug-16 Platform: Kindle WhisperSync

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I have a 15 year old son living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and at school they are talking about careers and preparing for VCE (year 11 & 12). This has been challenging for us as he is in the middle of a pain flare up. This book provided a lot of wonderful encouragement to us that there is a way to serve God and live a useful life in spite of the pain. As he attends a Christian school, I am planning to send this to his Careers and Christian Life teachers so they can get an insight i I have a 15 year old son living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and at school they are talking about careers and preparing for VCE (year 11 & 12). This has been challenging for us as he is in the middle of a pain flare up. This book provided a lot of wonderful encouragement to us that there is a way to serve God and live a useful life in spite of the pain. As he attends a Christian school, I am planning to send this to his Careers and Christian Life teachers so they can get an insight into what he is going through as well as finding some words of encouragement.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ebookwormy1

    Four chapters, totaling 40 pages is a brief look at the trials of chronic pain and theology of suffering. Perhaps a short treatment is ideal both for writers with chronic pain and those suffering with pain who would read them? Esther Smith isn’t trying to cover the topic exhaustively (for either herself or her readers!), and I see she has other titles that focus on various aspects of her journey. I received my ebook of this title for free from Amazon after a chronic pain site mentioned it was of Four chapters, totaling 40 pages is a brief look at the trials of chronic pain and theology of suffering. Perhaps a short treatment is ideal both for writers with chronic pain and those suffering with pain who would read them? Esther Smith isn’t trying to cover the topic exhaustively (for either herself or her readers!), and I see she has other titles that focus on various aspects of her journey. I received my ebook of this title for free from Amazon after a chronic pain site mentioned it was offered free for the day, but I did find myself wondering if such a short book would be a lower priced book. Chapter 1 Called but Physically Unable God is sovereignly in control, yet we live with the reality of chronic pain. Am I willing to go anywhere that God wants me to go? Am I willing to embrace a life of pain, to walk with people of pain, if that is what He has chosen for me? Chapter 2 Sitting at the Feet of Jesus In the classic Martha verses Mary passage, Smith highlights the worldly accolades that come with Martha living (which many have to sacrifice because of pain) and the spiritual strength that comes with Mary living (in which we can mature even while in pain). Chapter 3 Serving Out of Poverty I’ve read this chapter twice, now, both in the midst of pain, and I’ve cried through it both times. Smith begins with Romans 12:1 in reference to “living sacrifice” and loving God with our bodies. Her discussion of HOW to love God includes an insightful comparison that just like the widow gave her mite out of a poverty of wealth (Mark 12 & Luke 21), we can serve out of a poverty of health. After encouraging us to serve from a “poverty of health,” Smith gently but firmly rebukes the extreme self-pity than can immobilize many with chronic pain. She reminds us of Ephesians 2:10, and exhorts us that God has prepared good works even for those of us with pain. Chapter 4 Practical Work and Service When You Have Chronic Pain After the mountain top high of Chapter 3, this section is a bit of a disappointment. Smith moves away from Biblical examination to practical application and attempts to provide a process by which those with chronic pain can determine a place to serve. There’s nothing particularly original about the process, and there is no way to eliminate the considerable contemplation and creativity necessary to accommodate chronic health to work or ministry settings. While Smith gives brief listings of what individuals have accomplished, I would love to see a book that gives detailed short stories of what ministry/ work + pain looks like for real life sufferers. This would be something like Lisa Whelchel’s “So Your’re Thinking About Homeschooling: 15 Families Show You How They Do It.” In conclusion, this little book is excellent. I’m convinced Esther Smith ‘gets’ what it is like live with chronic pain while seeking to be a Christ follower. The Biblical exegesis is simple and solid, encouraging and exhorting, unencumbered by the delusion of American positivity. The length is perfect to read when you are in the midst of pain and need an understanding voice (my second read through was chapter by chapter in a pain flare), or when you are at manageable pain levels and can plan future challenges (this was my first read through). It is also a good length to recommend for loved ones supporting those in pain. I plan to recommend this title and am pleased I own it and can return to it myself So Your’re Thinking About Homeschooling: 15 Families Show You How They Do It, Whelchel, 2003 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Martha Paschall-Boykin

    Although some of the book was helpful, I didn't feel a great deal of relief after reading the book. I already work full-timein chronic pain. Because I have to pay my bills. I would say the first half of the book was good especially the first and secondchapters, but it lost its flair or encouragement after those two chapters.this may be good for those who stay home with chronic pain, but once I get home from work I go straight to bed because as she says I've already given out of poverty of health Although some of the book was helpful, I didn't feel a great deal of relief after reading the book. I already work full-timein chronic pain. Because I have to pay my bills. I would say the first half of the book was good especially the first and secondchapters, but it lost its flair or encouragement after those two chapters.this may be good for those who stay home with chronic pain, but once I get home from work I go straight to bed because as she says I've already given out of poverty of health. It doesn't make you feel any better about how the world around you is just living on and how you feel stuck. So for me the book wasn't very helpful but I'm sure for others it may be.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna Sinclair

    Wonderfully inspiring I recommended this book to everyone suffering with chronic pain and illness and to every Christian. The wisdom in it is truly from God, and the lessons ones that God has been teaching me over the last two years of my 8 year chronic migraine struggle. (It took me a while to stop whining and start listening.) This book is a wonderful encouragement on my journey with the Lord!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Peacock-Smith

    A little book with a big message! What an inspiring and well written book! So much that I can relate to, so much of my own experience, but one can never get enough of other’s experiences, perspective and wisdom (I don’t think so anyway). I look forward to reading more from this inspiring author 😊

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Knight

    Easy yet meaningful read This book was very encouraging. I am someone who is fairly new to studying my faith and finding the good in my health struggles, this is exactly what I needed. It was deep enough to be meaningful, but easy enough of a read for my foggy brain to understand.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Joyce

    Good to not journey alone. The fear of pain and suffering due to our bodies not living up to our expectations is hard. In fact very hard in a society where worth is in what you can get done (being busy). But to know that maybe there's another perspective. One where we are created to just be, be who we are and doing what we can in the midst of our physical restraints. Is joy enhancing and peace giving. Thank you Esther for your insight in such an affordable booklet. Good to not journey alone. The fear of pain and suffering due to our bodies not living up to our expectations is hard. In fact very hard in a society where worth is in what you can get done (being busy). But to know that maybe there's another perspective. One where we are created to just be, be who we are and doing what we can in the midst of our physical restraints. Is joy enhancing and peace giving. Thank you Esther for your insight in such an affordable booklet.

  9. 5 out of 5

    S.campbell8655yahoo.com

    So true ! A very inspiring book . I'm not as limited by pain as I thought now that I have read her stories and I have hope for the future and what God has for me . I received this book for free and I'm freely giving an honest review . So true ! A very inspiring book . I'm not as limited by pain as I thought now that I have read her stories and I have hope for the future and what God has for me . I received this book for free and I'm freely giving an honest review .

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Griggs

    Great book to learn how those living with chronic pain can be used of God and be joyful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    Well worth the read! The author is very honest and descriptive of chronic pain and the affect it has on her life and others. She left me with tools to accept chronic pain and move forward in spite of it. God offers a way out of the darkness of pain and also clear positive information to cope.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Megan Gathany

    This is a great read (or listen on Audible, in my case)! It's pretty short, which makes it feel very accessible. The author is vulnerable about her own struggles with chronic illness, AND provides action steps for other "spoonies". This is a surprisingly difficult combo to find - I'm so grateful for this book! This is a great read (or listen on Audible, in my case)! It's pretty short, which makes it feel very accessible. The author is vulnerable about her own struggles with chronic illness, AND provides action steps for other "spoonies". This is a surprisingly difficult combo to find - I'm so grateful for this book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Very Much Needed in My Life I am so very grateful that I came across this book, as since being diagnosed with a chronic illness, I have felt my life getting smaller and smaller by necessity. I have felt anger and guilt and self-pity, and like Job, I have asked God "why me?". But this book really gave me a different view, that by resting when I am ill, I have an opportunity to pray and to rest in the presence of Christ, which is a beautiful way for me to use that time. And that I can think more cr Very Much Needed in My Life I am so very grateful that I came across this book, as since being diagnosed with a chronic illness, I have felt my life getting smaller and smaller by necessity. I have felt anger and guilt and self-pity, and like Job, I have asked God "why me?". But this book really gave me a different view, that by resting when I am ill, I have an opportunity to pray and to rest in the presence of Christ, which is a beautiful way for me to use that time. And that I can think more creatively about my gifts and talents, to pick one thing, and find a way that I can serve and glorify HIM. I needed this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This was my question, also. If you have chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue, you will understand, all-too-well, exactly how the author has written. She has been through all the things I have gone through--physically, emotionally and spiritually--and found what I found. Ask yourself another question. Would I be walking as closely with God if I had been well? The most likely answer is no. This is not a self-help book, but a record of one woman's journey to finding peace in the midst of pain, fatigue This was my question, also. If you have chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue, you will understand, all-too-well, exactly how the author has written. She has been through all the things I have gone through--physically, emotionally and spiritually--and found what I found. Ask yourself another question. Would I be walking as closely with God if I had been well? The most likely answer is no. This is not a self-help book, but a record of one woman's journey to finding peace in the midst of pain, fatigue and despair.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Marlow

    This is a short book, just 33 pages long, but helpful for anyone who’s feeling they’re no longer useful to God because of their chronic illness. The real strength of this book is in her ability to articulate what it is like to experience chronic illness and chronic pain, and her practical ‘you can do this!’ suggestions for starting anew with being useful in a different way. Ideal for those no longer in the raw grief stage of illness diagnosis, but wondering what life will look life from now on, This is a short book, just 33 pages long, but helpful for anyone who’s feeling they’re no longer useful to God because of their chronic illness. The real strength of this book is in her ability to articulate what it is like to experience chronic illness and chronic pain, and her practical ‘you can do this!’ suggestions for starting anew with being useful in a different way. Ideal for those no longer in the raw grief stage of illness diagnosis, but wondering what life will look life from now on, I’m sure that many who have chronic illness will find this encouraging.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nickie Coby

    I recommend this book to anyone with chronic pain. It's wonderfully reassuring, affirming and full of encouragement. As someone with chronic pain ovEr the last 13 years, I often find myself asking the question in this book's title. I'll keep this one close for those tough days when the "why me" and "i'm useless" villans attack. I recommend this book to anyone with chronic pain. It's wonderfully reassuring, affirming and full of encouragement. As someone with chronic pain ovEr the last 13 years, I often find myself asking the question in this book's title. I'll keep this one close for those tough days when the "why me" and "i'm useless" villans attack.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marie McGowin

    Pain has been my gain This book brought out every thought and feelings I have had since the beginning of my chronic pain! I just couldn't put them in words. The book strengthens my faith that God will use my pain, fatigue and disabilities as a service for Him. I will recommend all chronic pain sufferers to read this book. Pain has been my gain This book brought out every thought and feelings I have had since the beginning of my chronic pain! I just couldn't put them in words. The book strengthens my faith that God will use my pain, fatigue and disabilities as a service for Him. I will recommend all chronic pain sufferers to read this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine Prince

    Encouraging Great to be reminded Im not alone and God has a plan in everything. Also that Im not useless and just need to be more gracious as well as creative to be everything I can be.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael J

    easy to read. The author does not use complex or archaic sentence structure, or uncommon specialized wording. I confess, I am a healthy strapping young man, full of life and vigor. This book does not apply to me as immediately or directly as it might to another person. Still, I found it fascinating to see the world and the real-life, nitty-gritty struggles of life and Christianity through the eyes of someone so different from myself. I hope this book will influence me to be kinder to those who ar easy to read. The author does not use complex or archaic sentence structure, or uncommon specialized wording. I confess, I am a healthy strapping young man, full of life and vigor. This book does not apply to me as immediately or directly as it might to another person. Still, I found it fascinating to see the world and the real-life, nitty-gritty struggles of life and Christianity through the eyes of someone so different from myself. I hope this book will influence me to be kinder to those who are dealing with pain or other hardship when I am not, so that I do not look forward on them as weaker or inferior. They are simply different. God has called them to walk different lives and learn different lessons through different struggles, so that another aspect of His glory may be manifested.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Martha Lundgren

    Some things of value despite troubling theology Good description of purpose of rest, tuning into Mary when we're used to being Martha, and sacrificial giving. I'm not keen though on the strong implications and sometines direct statement that God puts people into suffering states so they will learn lessons, that God is the great puppeteer. I do not believe God has any desire for God's creation to suffer. I do believe that God understands our suffering and sites not foresake us when we do. That's Some things of value despite troubling theology Good description of purpose of rest, tuning into Mary when we're used to being Martha, and sacrificial giving. I'm not keen though on the strong implications and sometines direct statement that God puts people into suffering states so they will learn lessons, that God is the great puppeteer. I do not believe God has any desire for God's creation to suffer. I do believe that God understands our suffering and sites not foresake us when we do. That's the lesson of the cross for me

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Holloway

  22. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Holly Sinclair

  24. 5 out of 5

    linda bond

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mayers

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosalind

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ken Smith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leanna Herr

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan Triplett

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