I read a book this summer that I really enjoyed: Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections To Help You Grasp God’s Purpose In Your Suffering.
The authors are two women, Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton. And these two women are walking the balance between having things in their lives that they deeply struggle with, and also, at the same time, holding on to the deep, true, beautiful, hopeful reality that God is present right there in their suffering. They ask questions like 'What does that balance look like for me, right now, as I struggle with real pain?'
I would recommend this book to anyone that feels like they are walking through difficult circumstances in life and they just aren't quite sure how to hold onto the reality of Jesus with them in the middle of the difficulty. The authors reference physical pain, parenting pain, abuse, depression, job loss...but the content is applicable to various sorts of suffering. I'm also excited about this book as our pastors at Living Fatih Alliance have recently been preaching about our deep need to ask our hard questions about life and 'find counsel outside of ourselves' in the Bible. That's exactly what these authors, Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton, do: in short, easy to read chapters, they move through a passage of Scripture (2 Corinthians 4-5). They base each chapter on a phrase from the passage and they write about how that is still true, right now, even in the midst of suffering. They don't just offer their own thoughts or opinions about suffering and pain. They point us back to what God has said through the Bible, what is true and can be counted on, again and again and again. If you want to be challenged to lift your eyes to see what can be gloriously true in the middle of suffering, while also still acknowledging and living with pain, read this book.
Hope When It Hurts feels very level-headed to me: like someone helpfully just pushing me back to God's Word over and over, without a lot of fluff. The authors keep bringing each chapter back to the foundational BASICS of what it looks like to be a God-follower. They ask the honest, scary questions that I myself have had in times of suffering, that I wouldn't necessarily voice out loud, and they answer them in a way that is Biblical and life-giving.
On a side-note, some might ask, is this book solely for women? The cover looks very feminine and the authors are two women sharing their stories. Would men find this book helpful or engaging? I tried to keep that in mind as I read. I imagine it would appeal deeply to women I also imagine that men would have to 'get past' a few components, such as the presentation of the book. But the general content is excellent and good for men as well.