Recommended Reading on Illness, Healing & Suffering

Here’s my annotated bibliography of recommended books (in addition to mine described at this link)  


Cancer Journey: A Caregiver’s view from the passenger seat by Cynthia Zahm Siegfried, Pleasant Word, 2010. Hope, support and spiritual guidance for caregivers of  those living with life-threatening illness.


Breathe Again: How to Life Well when Life Falls Apart by Niki Hardy, colorectal cancer survivor (and admittedly a “teller of incredibly bad jokes). She shares the message that life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full and how anyone can live such a life.

Confronting Life-threatening Illness through the Power of Positional Thinking by John Packo,. An important distinction between positive thinking and positional thinking,  based on thinking “correctly” about life’s struggles in light of the believer’s position in Christ

Coping with Cancer by John Packo. A pastor/cancer survivor shares 12 creative choices cancer patients can make to fight cancer, beginning with “I did not choose cancer, but I choose to trust God for courage to cope with it.” Balanced look at roles of conventional therapies and spiritual resources.

Don’t Waste Your Cancer by John Piper, pastor/cancer survivor, who  shares 10 ways for a believer not to waste a cancer diagnosis. Available as a booklet or audio CD at .

Praying through Cancer: Set your heart free from fear by Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist. A 90-day devotional for women with contributions by Barbara Johnson, Pat Palau, Kay Warren, Joyce Wright, and others –including my three devotions.

Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ by J. Todd Billings. Written by a theologian diagnosed at 39 with incurable cancer.

When You Can’t Come Back by Dave & Jan Dravecky. Dave is the former MLB player diagnosed with cancer in his pitching arm, His first book Comeback chronicled his  amazing return to pitching and this follow-up deals with the depression, stress and suffering of needing to have that arm amputated. The couple shares the faith which game them the hope and encouragement in the face of tragic circumstances.


The God of All Comfort by Judy Gann.  Devotions for those who chronically suffer.

Mosaic Moments: Devotions for the Chronically Ill by Lisa Copen. Written by the founder of Rest Ministries which serves millions of people with chronic illness.

New Light on Depression: Help, Hope and Answers for the Depressed and Those Who Love Them by David B. Biebel and Harold G. Koenig. A medically reliable and biblically sound guide to finding strength and faith in the midst of depression.


Appointments with Heaven by Dr. Reggie Anderson. This family physician shares remarkable stories from his life and practice of his glimpses of the afterlife. Soul-stirring and hope-filled.

God, Medicine & Miracles by Dr. Daniel E. Fountain. This missionary doctor shares real-life stories and insightful studies to develop a balance between faith, medicine and ultimate spiritual hope.

The Healing Power of a Christian Mind by Dr. William Backus. A Christian psychologist discusses how biblical truth can keep people healthy.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn. More than 1 million copies have been sold of this book considered the most comprehensive and definitive book on Heaven to date. It will fill your mind with truth and your heart with joy about our eternal Home.

Israel’s Divine Healer by Michael Brown. A complete and systematic look at God as the Divine Healer. Written by a Messianic Jewish pastor/scholar.

When God Doesn’t Heal Now by Larry Keefauver. This excellent book sheds biblical clarity on dangerous myths about healing which can sabotage faith and erode hope. How to walk by faith while facing pain, suffering or death.

When God Says No by Leith Anderson,. Discovering the God of Hope behind the answer we’d rather not hear. A thorough, biblical probe of the great mysteries of prayer.

Will God Heal Me? by Ronald Dunn. An excellent scriptural dissertation on healing, including a chapter on the doctrine of “Atonement Healing. Especially good for those being told that healing is guaranteed if they only believe.


Beyond Suffering Bible: Where struggles seem endless, God’s hope is infinite, easy-to-read New Living Translation with encouraging commentary from Joni Eareckson Tada.

Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey. A treatise on suffering which answers three questions posed by sufferers: Is God unfair? Is God silent? and Is God hidden?

If God is So Good, Why Do I Feel So Bad? by David Biebel. A discussion of suffering and God’s part in it based on the two seemingly contradictory premises that “sometimes life is agony” and “our loving God is in control.”

NIV Encouragement Bible. A devotional Bible “for those who hurt,” edited by Joni Eareckson Tada and Dave and Jan Dravecky.  An excellent resource for Christians.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth ElliottDiscovering the relationship between God’s mercy and our pain. Written by religion professor/author whose first husband was murdered and her second died from cancer.

Peace in the Face of Loss by Jill Kelly (wife of NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly). Jill shares her own stories of deep loss and unexpected joy, including her son’s diagnosis with a congenital illness and her husband’s cancer journey.

When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada. Written by a  quadriplegic (since 1967) and a pastor. Tackles tough questions about heaven, hell, horrors and hardships and why God allows suffering.

Where is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey. A thought-provoking look at the hard questions believers ask when suffering and trials come.

Why Me?: A Doctor Looks at the Book of Job by Dr. Diane KompA Yale medical professor of pediatric oncology tackles the painful questions of suffering by sharing modern-day “Job” stories.