“Hurt is real. But so is hope.”
It’s rare — a book about Christian suffering that isn’t filled with fluffy, canned, half-truth Christian jargon. But I found one: Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton.
Hope When It Hurts is a book drenched in gospel-rich, Christ-exalting, biblically sound meditations. Sarah and Kristen warmly invite women to see how God is caring for them, growing them, and using them in seasons of suffering. They do not shy away about the hurt we experience in our earthly lives; however, this is not a book of complaining, commiserating, and self-focus. These women continually point us back to the only true source of hope: Jesus.
Sarah and Kristen bring the readers hope in two ways — First, gospel hope for life in and among suffering. Second, gospel hope for life beyond suffering. They have thoughtfully included biblical reflections, questions and prayers, along with space for journaling with each chapter.
Is this book for you?
I read Hope When It Hurts as a woman suffering through infertility, and as one who has suffered with a lifelong anxiety/panic disorder; those are the two thorns in my side. I’ve also recommended this book to a woman who lost her husband to cancer, to a woman struggling with her singleness, to a woman wrestling with anger toward God, and to a woman who misses her mother in heaven. And I have countless others in mind who are hurting in other ways — divorce, health issues, rebellious children, abuse — the list is endless. Because the truth is: we are all sufferers while we are on this earth. Our weakness and weariness is very real, but so is hope.
This book is for any woman who is wrestling with suffering on any scale — physical, emotional, spiritual, short-term and long-term. It is a book that will greatly encourage and nourish your soul, and would make a thoughtful gift to give to those hurting in your life. It would also make for a rich Bible study in a group setting.
“We wrote this for you in the midst of your pain,” Kristen says in this video. “Because God’s Word has been a balm to our souls. We want you to know that same comfort, we want you to be in the Word, rooted there, drawing life and hope from the only Giver of hope.” Sarah follows, “So we don’t have to come with ourselves neat and tidy and all pulled together. We come with the hope that he will help us trust him, even with the pain and even with the struggles and the questions and the things we can’t make sense of.”
My top 10 favorite quotes from Hope When It Hurts
- One of the most beautiful and Christ-glorifying pictures of faith is when a believer has no earthly evidence or confidence to fall back on except a wooden cross and an empty tomb, and yet trusts firmly in the loving sovereignty of Christ. (p. 60)
- Suffering strips away our false sense of joy in the temporary things of this world. If our joy is located anywhere other than in the unchanging love of Christ for us, then suffering reveals that and steals that joy from us. (p. 211)
- If we think that suffering and blessing can’t co-exist, we will always be seeking shallow pleasures and comforts, and we will miss out on the deep blessings of walking closely with Christ in suffering. (p. 82)
- When we are bitter, we are saying to God, “You should have given me a life better than this. I want what I deserve!” and God says to us, often gently, sometimes firmly, I have given you a better life than this, a better life than you can imagine, and I’m leading you to it. And I want for you what you don’t deserve — eternal life. (p. 103)
- Our Savior does not comfort us by cheering us on from a distance. Instead, he lives within us and walks beside us, even as he beckons us down the Calvary road. (p. 112)
- There’s something about having our worldly comforts stripped away, and company around us falling away, that allows us to begin to experience the true depth, length, and height of his love for us. (p. 110)
- Contentment is in the presence of Christ, and not in the absence of pain. (p. 158)
- Trials are good because they test the genuineness of our faith and show us the faithfulness of Christ to sustain us. (p. 183)
- Because of who God is, there is sweet freedom in laying everything down. Our hopes, dreams, plans, health, past, present, and future. Not in defeated surrender, but in willing and humble submission, trusting his loving control and purpose over every aspect of our lives. (p. 143)
- Pain is never pleasant, but nothing can compare to the pain of eternity without God. (p. 50)
I have to share with you, too: I am blessed to personally know Kristen and Sarah as my dear sisters in Christ where we attend church together. I met Kristen when I began writing for Unlocking the Bible, where she is the Ministry Content Manager. And I reconnected with Sarah through Unlocking the Bible after we realized we attended junior high together! It’s an honor and privilege to know these women and to be a witness to the transforming power of the gospel in their lives. And my prayer for you, friend, is that their book would bless, comfort, and strengthen you in a way only Jesus Christ can.
**ORDER YOUR COPY OF HOPE WHEN IT HURTS!**
Want to connect? Sarah blogs at SetApart.net, and you can follow her on Instagram @swalts14 and Twitter @swalts4. Kristen blogs at KristenWetherell.com, and you can follow her on Instagram @Kristen_wetherell and Twitter @klwetherell. You can also follow them on their “Hope When It Hurts” Facebook page.
Kristen and Sarah have generously offered to giveaway two signed copies of Hope When It Hurts! Want to be one of two people to win a free copy? Enter below! Giveaway ends September 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm.
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Cover image used with permission from The Good Book Company.
I have not been compensated for writing this book review. All thoughts and opinions are genuinely mine, and I only recommend resources that I fully support. This post does contain affiliate links — please read my disclosure policy.