“Chronic Love” captured my attention because of its subtitle: “Trusting God While Suffering with a Chronic Illness”. For the past seven and a half years, since age 24, I have been battling chronic illness, and one diagnosis follows another in a domino effect as my body continues to fail me. It wasn’t until this year that I truly accepted that despite treatments, beaucoup medications, and natural remedies, my body was not going to get better in the physical sense. The goal is to have the best quality of life possible while acknowledging that I will always be disabled. Having “invisible” disabilities makes life more challenging because people assume you are well and don’t understand why you can’t do things or go places. On the other end of the spectrum are those who blame you for your illness and insist that you are sick because your faith is not strong enough or because God is angry with you. This year I have endeavored to stop waiting for my conditions to improve and really persist in glorifying God more than ever in spite of the pain and symptoms, so this book was a very timely read.
Brooke Bartz specifically addresses chronically ill women in “Chronic Love”, although the Scriptures and writing easily apply to everyone. Those of us with chronic illness are always hoping for a panacea, which the medical field just can’t provide. However, something that we often overlook is that if we belong to the Lord, we already have the cure! “If you are in Christ, you have the healing most people don’t. Living life on this earth healthy but without Christ proves the fatal disease.” Along with that, there are many other gems in this book. Each chapter employs the adjective “chronic” affixed to a Christian concept, upending the negative connotation of the word and demonstrating how Christ’s character and example show us how to live no matter the state of our physical condition. As Bartz reminds us, “[t]o have physical health but no salvation is the most fatal and terminal disease of all.” For those of us who are in Christ, we have the assurance that we will enter His kingdom whole and complete, and that one day He will give us resurrection bodies. Even a human lifetime of suffering cannot compare to a glorious, pain-free eternity with Christ!
Two of the main points that “Chronic Love” makes are that suffering makes us like Christ and also increases our dependence on God. Something that struck me while reading was that when we bemoan our condition we are actually hurting God because we are going against His will for us; we know that He uses all things for our good and for His glory if we are His children (Romans 8:28). Like Job, we may never know why we have chronic illnesses, but we can trust that our Savior knows and that He helps us to endure. He may choose to bring us healing, or He may not, and either way, we need to trust Him and rely on Him alone.
This is a book that is suitable for either personal or group study. At the end of each chapter are detail and main idea questions about the chapter’s contents as well as a prayer. “Chronic Love” overflows with Scripture verses and an abundance of encouragement and affirmation for women in all stages of illness. While this is written in a conversational language that is easy to read, it took me several days to finish it because I found myself wanting to savor and ponder the Bible verses and the author’s perspective. My only complaint is that the author tends to state the same phrase of a Bible verse followed immediately by the Bible verse itself in the same terms, which becomes very repetitious, instead of paraphrasing first. If you or a loved one suffer from chronic illness or are a caregiver for someone who does, “Chronic Love” will minister to your heart and soul and give you strength for the journey.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through JustRead Publicity Tours and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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Chronic Love is on tour with Just Read Publicity Tours from September 3-7, 2019. Visit the LAUNCH PAGE to see the full list of stops!
One winner will receive a print copy of Chronic Love, a Chronic Love T-shirt, a Chronic Love coffee mug, a copy of Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges and the workbook Trusting God Even When Life Hurts!
Giveaway begins at midnight on September 3, 2019 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 10, 2019. Winners will be notified within two weeks of the close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of the prize. Due to shipping cost, only US mailing addresses are valid. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.