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Spiritual help for the sick

18 October 2013

This is a book that he can recommend, David Adam says

Facing Illness, Finding Peace
Nancy Groves
BRF £6.99
Church Times Bookshop £6.30 (Use code CT577 )

MOST of us seek to avoid any thought of illness, and sometimes even deny it when it comes to us. Illness can be a time of deep crisis, not only to our faith, but also to our lives. Nancy Groves seeks to guide us through the emotional impact of facing a serious illness.

This book is useful not only for people who are suffering, but also for their loved ones and all involved in caring. There are not many words to the page, and the Bible readings are no more than a few verses in each section. This shows that the author understands how illness often limits our attention span. Yet this is a book with deep riches, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

We are told: "Disease and suffering do not come from God. Rather illness is part of the mystery of human life on earth." Illness is faced head-on, from the beginning of feeling ill through to diagnosis and the naming of the illness. We are encouraged to look at our feelings openly and honestly with another person and with God. Shock, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt, and shame are all faced in turn. Then the need for adjustments and the coming to terms with the feeling we are losing our identity.

The last third of the book deals in turn with survival, healing, peace, and God's gift of peace. We are told that our reactions to our illness determine its meaning in our lives. Though friends pray for healing, they need also to face the reality that true healing is found "in the glory of the resurrection". Throughout, there is the reminder of the love of God and our own uniqueness, and that we are precious in his sight.

Canon David Adam is a former Vicar of Holy Island.

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