Skip to content ↓

A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness

A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness

I woke up far too early and feeling far too discouraged. I had spent a restless night trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable through pain. I eventually gave up, slid out of bed, went downstairs, and got my coffee brewing. I knew this would be a day in which my hands would hurt too much to get any significant writing done. I’ve got deadlines looming and words waiting to be typed, but realized I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything much. I felt despondent and knew that self-pity was lurking close at hand.

I suddenly remembered that the evening before I had heard a thump outside the front door that sounded like a package being dropped off. I pulled back the curtain and, sure enough, spotted a box perched on the step. I carried it inside, cracked it open, and found that it contained a stack of books. Facing me from the very top was one I had never heard of: A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness. Don’t you love it how God sometimes allows us these clear glimpses of his providence? After getting the family up and helping the kids off to school, I sat down to read. I kept going until the book was finished. Despondency vanished. Hope was restored. It was a day well-spent.

A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness was written by Philip Bennett Power, an Irish minister who first published it in 1876 under the title The Sick Man’s Comfort Book. This new edition with its new title is from Banner of Truth and I did not need to read far to see why they went to the trouble of reprinting it. It’s a short but powerful little book that does exactly what it claims—it offers comfort to those who are sick and suffering.

Though born in Ireland, P.B. Power became a minister of the Church of England and served a number of congregations in Leicester, London, and Worthing. However, in the prime of life his health broke down and he lived out the rest of his days as an invalid. In that way, this book was written in a context of deep suffering. Yet it is filled with hope and joy.

Power begins with a key observation: “Scripture tells us that God is a jealous God; and he is not only jealous of a man’s worshipping any other God, but of his being put second in anything; and, amongst other things, in comforting.” When we look for comfort in sickness or suffering, we are meant to look first to God. Over the course of a chapter, he goes to Scripture to show how God promises to comfort his people in all their distress. He lays down a three-part challenge: First, become convinced that God means to comfort his people. Second, look to God as your prime and first comfort. Third, expect that God will bring comfort.

With that foundation in place he goes on to explain hindrances and helps to believing that God is a God of comfort. He discusses the value of pain in the Christian life and grapples with the feelings of uselessness that can overwhelm people who are bedridden or otherwise unable to carry out a normal life. He deals with loneliness, with feelings of envy that arise when sick people compare themselves to those who are healthy, and with the struggles that come to those whose illness makes them a burden to others. He gently encourages the reader to have great confidence in the much greater mind and much greater purposes of God. He closes, as you might expect, by reflecting on the end of pain with the entry into glory.

I went through this book with pencil and highlighter in-hand and relished every page. There is so much I want to go back to and to reflect on further. But even with a single, brisk read, it spoke deeply and brought great comfort. And, wouldn’t you know it, that day of resting my hands allowed me to sit and write the next.

The history of Christianity holds many treasures, and I’m grateful to Banner of Truth for finding and sharing one in A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness. It’s a book I’d recommend to each and every Christian. Buy one for yourself and buy one to pass to someone else. You’ll benefit and they’ll be blessed.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.

  • Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

    It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away?…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (February 17)

    A La Carte: Think you’re immune to adultery? / One of the most hopeful reminders about sanctification / What do we do with dreams and visions? / Have you ever asked your church elders to visit and pray for you? / The neurodivergent believer / Preaching advice for busy pastors / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Open the Bible)

    This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by Open the Bible. They encourage you to enter to win a series of books from Open the Bible and Pastor Colin Smith! Included in the giveaway are: For All Who Grieve by Pastor Colin Smith. Written with compassion and understanding, yet honestly facing the difficult questions that…