David Furman is a pastor who has disabling nerve pain in both of his arms. Through his personal experience of physical suffering, he writes a manual for those who care for others.
I appreciate the topic of this book. When you are constantly struggling with pain and difficult symptoms, life can easily become self-focused. When pain flares and new symptoms surface, it is difficult to focus on anything other than personal needs, wants, and comforts.
But what about the people who care for us? What about the caretakers, the spouses, the family members, the friends who care in big and little ways? They have needs too. They need rest too. They have lost things too.
It can be easy to forget that as much as we have lost things because of our pain, illness, and disability, the people around us have lost just as much, simply in different ways. Our limitations are their limitations. In many ways, our pains are their pains. When we suffer, they suffer. This book recognizes the losses of those who care for us, invites them to grieve these losses, and then offers solutions for how to find help and hope in the midst of caring for others.
This is a needed book that talks about a needed topic.
If I have any critique of this book it is that the suggestions given are a bit simplistic. But sometime it is simplistic reminders that are needed when life is filled with stress, hard work, and confusion.
Furman points those who care for others to lament, walk with God, find the support of friends, serve as Christ did, pray, and have hard conversations with those they care for. At times what he says can seem quite obvious, but I suppose it leads to questions of “am I actually doing these things that are so obvious?”
As someone with chronic pain, I especially appreciated Chapter 8 entitled “Whatever You Do, Don’t Do These Things.” These are the things that healthy individuals so often say and do around those of us with chronic pain that can be just so infuriating. As someone who personally struggles with disability, Furman gets this chapter just right.
I recommend this book for those who suffer and their caretakers. I imagine it would be a great gesture to buy this book for the individual or individuals who care for you, as a simple acknowledgment that what they do is difficult and does not go unnoticed.
I received a free copy of Being There from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.
Check out the first booklet in the Chronic Pain and the Christian Life series, But God Wouldn’t I Be More Useful to You If I Were Healthy, on Amazon.com.