Less than a year ago I miscarried our 17 week old little girl Anastasia and was forced, once again, to go through all of the unexpected grief that accompanies the loss of an unborn baby. Throughout that terrible experience, it was the fellowship of the Savior that steadied my soul and encouraged my aching heart. It was the truths found in Scripture and the hope of the gospel that allowed me to walk through such difficult days. In short, it was Jesus, precious Jesus who carried me through.
Even as the stinging pain of that loss begins to fade and the blessings of the new life I carry shift my focus, I find the lessons of sorrow that I have learned and am still learning are continually with me. They have forever altered my vision of life and of the Lord. They have opened a new door of intimacy between me and the Savior that I forever wish to peer through.
The lessons of sorrow are good, because they serve to continually remind me of the joy yet to come–of the joyous Kingdom yet to be revealed. When I learned about Nancy Guthrie’s book Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow, I knew it would be a further encouragement to my soul.
Nancy Guthrie knows first hand the paradox of pain and hope that I have experienced. As she carefully and compassionately walks through various passages of Scripture that relate to suffering, she does so with the understanding of one who has walked through the fiery trials of loss and come out the others side with a beautiful testimony of Christ’s sufficiency.
Nancy and her husband are the parents of three children (one perfectly healthy boy and two precious babes who were born with fatal metabolic disorders). They had less than a year with each baby before the Lord took them out of this world–before they stood beside their tiny graves wondering what purpose the Lord had for their suffering.
As one who has experienced such personal sorrow, Nancy’s testimony gives her writing on the subject added weight and credence. Not because her scriptural exposition would have been different if she had never experienced pain, but because her own personal pain gives the reader a personal testimony of one who can sympathize with their grief and share how the Word of God has been tested and proven faithful even in the most difficult of times.
What I love about this book:
Within the pages of this little book you will find a wealth of wisdom and encouragement. Rather than focusing on how to get through grief or why grief exists in general, Nancy aims to give you a vision of Christ and the gospel that will help you contextualize your pain in a Biblical way. Each small chapter focuses the words of Jesus, but not necessarily the words you would expect. This is perhaps my favorite thing about her approach to the topic. You won’t find pithy sayings or Band-Aid Bible verses to slap on your sorrow and move on with your life. What you will find are hard to ask questions, hard to swallow truths, and gloriously overwhelming encouragement all by closely examining some key passages spoken by Jesus. It becomes evident that her goal throughout the book is not to cure your pain, but to give you a vision of eternity that puts your pain into focus.
Who I would recommend this book for:
This book was written for those who have suffered loss in any way: “Maybe you, too, have stood by a grave and said good-bye. Or maybe you have had to bury your dreams for a future with someone you love or your plans for doing something you have longed to dy. Perhaps circumstances have forced you to leave behind a position you thought you were made for or come to terms with a frightening financial problem or a painful medical condition. Perhaps you live with ongoing sorrow over a child who has turned away from you and from the faith. Maybe you are living with regret over the sorrow brought into your life by your own bad choices, or maybe you are living with resentment over the sorrow brought into your life by what someone else has done.” For anyone facing sorrow in their life Nancy asks: “I wonder if you would be willing to spend a few quiet hours with me, listening to hear Jesus speak into it.”
Though any person going through a time of suffering will greatly benefit from this book, I do feel it is particularly poignant for those who are going through the loss of a child or through a miscarriage (due to her own personal testimony sprinkled throughout its pages). It would be wonderful to have a couple copies of this little book on hand to give to young women in your church who you find out are going through such a loss.
Also, I feel that it is important to mention that the truths found in this book are important for those who are not going through the trial of suffering as a means to be able to effectively and biblically minister to those who are. You may often feel like you simply don’t know what to say to someone who has lost their father or their job. You don’t want to offer simplistic solutions, but you also know that the gospel speaks to their grief. This would be an excellent resource to help you speak in a way that is both helpful and true to the Word of God.
The only critique I have for this book is the fact that most of the quoted Scripture is from the New Living Translation. I don’t understand why this translation is used in preference to other more literal translations, besides perhaps her desire to relate the passages in a more personal/narrative way. Though I would have preferred for her to use a more trusted translation, the use of the NLT was not a hindrance in her scriptural exegesis in any way, nor would it keep me from recommending this work.
If you are going through a personal loss, or know someone who is going through a time of suffering I would highly recommend this book to you. It has been a great encouragement to me and I trust it will be to you as well.