My review of a great new book on finding God’s purpose for your suffering.
From a strictly human perspective, that hardly sounds like the ‘good news’ of the gospel. But the gospel is so good, that even tremendous suffering can produce incredible hope and joy in our suffering Savior.
Gospel Hope from the Furnace of Affliction
Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell are no strangers to suffering or pain. Sarah experienced bullying and abuse as a teen, and now struggles with Lyme disease and the challenges of raising a son with a neurological disorder. Kristen has also suffered from Lyme disease for years, experiencing bouts of tremendous physical weakness.
They both know suffering and what doubting God in the pit of despair feels like. They also know how God can be near and the gospel rich during deep suffering—and that is their message in Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering.
Hope When It Hurts shares 30 reflections (5-6 pages each) of suffering in light of gospel hope. They do not write from the mountaintop of having conquered their suffering, but rather from deep brokenness and struggle, making their message authentic, personal, and powerful.
A personal note
My wife and I know Kristen and Sarah from attending the same church in suburban Chicago (The Orchard EFC) and know they both are the real deal. We have observed their faith through trials and know just how hard things have been for them. I even saw (or at least heard from their husbands!) how their writing process was riddled with difficulties due to health issues and other concerns. I rejoice that God used those difficulties to sharpen their writing and deepen their inward grasp of the truth they write. I’m also in awe that God can and does use our deepest struggles for our good and the good of others!
This is a book meant to be read prayerfully introspectively. The book is made for just that with questions at the end of each reflection, a suggested prayer, verses for meditation, and journal page for each of the 30 reflections. While the book is marketed toward women (the cover might have tipped you off), there’s a lot of value for men as well, although they won’t resonate quite as well with the mom or wife perspectives.
You don’t have to have major suffering in your life for Hope When it Hurts to be relevant. I found the book speaking into anxiety, my minor physical issues, and other challenges in my life. I need to cling to Christ better!
Kristen and Sarah are faithful guides to help point us to Christ in the difficulties of life. Use this book as a tool to draw near to God in your suffering or bolster your faith for when suffering comes. Life hurts for all of us—but we must always remember God’s purpose—and God’s presence—in our suffering.
Hope When it Hurts Resources
The Official Trailer
Watch the Hope When It Hurts Workshop at The Gospel Coalition or download the mp3