Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Book Spotlight on "The Hem of His Garment" and a post by the author

Will Pain Make You Bitter or Better?
A guest post by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Pain. It’s inevitable. We live in a pain-averse society, and we prefer living a pain-free life. But the truth is, we all experience pain of some kind. Jesus warned us we would have trouble, pain, and suffering. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Pain is certain in this life, but the challenge is how will we respond to it? Will we allow it to make us bitter or better?

We’re all familiar with physical pain—the sprained ankle, broken arm, sunburn, or toothache. But no discussion about pain would be complete if we didn’t also acknowledge other forms of pain: emotional pain, relationship pain, financial pain, spiritual pain, secondary pain caused by the words or actions of others that make us feel worse when enduring the other types of pain, as well as grief and loss.

My husband and I are no strangers to pain. Between the two of us, we’ve had cancer several times. We’ve gone through financial hardship. I endured clinical depression and anxiety earlier in our marriage. We’ve both been bruised by relationship pain, and wondering why relationships were severed with no opportunity to seek forgiveness or reconciliation for something we didn’t even do. And now, living a life of chronic physical pain, just like Jacob wrestled with God and Job asked God questions, I have also wrestled and asked God some hard questions in my suffering. Questions like: God, I’m serving you—why didn’t you prevent this from happening? Or God, do you care that I hurt? Or God, I know you can heal—why aren’t you? I’ve learned that God is big enough to handle my questions…and my pain…and teach me lessons through it.

I never have a pain-free day anymore, although pain is usually less in the morning and ramps up frequently to intolerable levels by evening. There have been many long nights and tear-stained pillows where I’ve cried out to God and asked Him to take my pain away. There have been times when I’ve wanted to ask God “Why?” and yet, in my spirit I sensed Him saying, “Why not you?” God didn’t inflict the pain, but he’s using it. He didn’t cause the trials, but he’s using them. So, the question is, do we want to be used by God, or do we want to be comfortable? I knew God could take it away if he wanted to, but I sensed Him saying, “I’m entrusting this to you. Steward it well.”

God isn’t just the God of heavenly thrones, churches, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and revivals. He’s also the God of chemotherapy chairs, overdrawn bank accounts, prodigal children, empty chairs at holiday dinners, bathroom floors, broken hearts, and tear-stained pillows. He’s a God who stoops and bends his ear to listen to our heartfelt cries. He’s the God who promises to go before, walk alongside, and come behind when no one else will.

My entire purpose for being on social media is to encourage others and point them to the hope we have in Jesus. But I’m also honest, authentic, and vulnerable about life’s challenges. Social media becomes so sanitized with perfectly posed pictures, that comparison and jealousy over others’ staged lives makes us feel worse about our own. So, I vulnerably share the real-life pain, and people resonate with real. My publisher came to me, having noticed that people respond to the authentic trials of life, and asked me if I would consider writing a book on pain.

In all honesty, my first thought was, “No!” Because I’m an experiential writer, and I have to go through what I write about. I had to walk through the valley of depression to write the books Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the Hope Prevails Bible Study. I had to walk through anxiety to write Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises. I had to learn to transform my mind and take every thought captive in order to write Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right. And I knew that writing a book on pain would entail me experiencing more pain. And unlike those earlier books where I wrote from the other side of depression and anxiety, because every day is filled with pain for me, I would have to write this book in the crucible of pain. But it only took God a few seconds working in my heart for me to decide I want to be obedient more than I want to be comfortable. So, I agreed to write The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms.

Readers are saying it’s my best book yet. But I would suggest to you that that is because I was completely and totally dependent on the Holy Spirit giving me insights to share. Throughout the book, the common thread is the story of the woman with the issue of blood, and to a lesser degree but still prominent is the story of Job. This was intentional because both of them experienced every single kind of pain I talk about in the book. They teach us how to hold onto our faith when we know God can heal but for whatever reason hasn’t yet. And they teach us about the gifts and benefits inherent in our suffering.

Perhaps in our longing for healing of our pain, God is beckoning us to exercise our faith, to come to him and touch the hem of his garment. Perhaps he has something more waiting for us than we could ever ask or imagine. But it’s our choice whether to let pain make us bitter or better; whether we will run away from God in our pain, or lean into Him for strength.

In her weakened, frail condition, the woman with the issue of blood pushed through the crowd determined to touch Jesus’s hem. She could get no lower, nor any further from making eye contact with the Great Physician. The defining moment in this woman’s life occurred when, lacking in her own strength, she reached out for Jesus’s hem in faith, and his strength went out from him, into her, healing her of the pain that plagued her for over a decade. Perhaps instead of viewing our dependence on God in a negative light, we can see it as the avenue he uses to draw us to himself.

If you are experiencing pain today, let me encourage you that God sees you. He cares about you. He weeps with you. And he not only doesn’t waste our pain, but he uses it. Will you trust Him with your pain and continue to reach out in faith to touch the hem of his garment?

Author Bio:

Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a hope concierge! 

Whether as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, host of the award-winning podcast Your Hope Filled Perspective, or the author of several award-winning books including Hope Prevails and Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, her passion is to share hope and encouragement with others. Her newest release is The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms.

 She loves all things teal, spending time with friends and family, taking long walks, or sitting by quiet shores, and it’s a bonus when any of those are accompanied by sea salt caramel chocolate! You can find her and her hope-filled resources at

Blurb for The Hem of His Garment (book): 

Hope for When the Pain Won't Quit

Everyone experiences pain at times. It can manifest physically, emotionally, relationally, or spiritually. It can follow tragic accidents, great loss, sudden betrayal, or unexpected and unwanted change. Often it is temporary. But what do you do when it isn't? When the pain just won't go away, when healing does not come, when the grief and hurt settle in?

Drawing on her own experience of chronic pain and her years as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson provides a countercultural perspective on pain. 

Offering hope without any false promises or empty platitudes, Dr. Bengtson unwraps the complex emotional aspects of dealing with pain. She gives you permission to question God, helps you identify the lies you've believed about your pain, and reorients your perception based on the truth of God's Word. Each chapter ends with a recommended playlist, reflection questions, and a prayer.

Your pain may not change, but your experience of it can.

Buy The Hem of His Garment (book) on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Connect with Dr. Michelle:



Twitter: (@DrMBengtson)





Podcast: or


If you are a resident in the USA then you may enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the link to Rafflecopter:

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