The suffering Christ is the focal point for every Christian. The crucified Christ is our vision. For Him, the path to glory was the path of suffering. And that is the pattern for us. Our suffering leads to greater sanctification and to greater glory. In Hope in the Mourning, Emily Curtis has compiled twenty-one stories of suffering saints who exemplify this biblical truth. In addition to firsthand accounts, you will also find practical advice on how to minister to those who are suffering. I trust you will be encouraged by these stories of God’s faithfulness in the midst of suffering.

The Psalms are a fountain that God’s people have continually gone to for drinks of encouragement in difficult times. Besides being inspired truth, one of the appealing features of many psalms is transparency. David is especially known for honestly conveying his struggles with faith, doubt, pain, and failure. Yet, he is also known for landing on his feet as he regularly counseled himself to ‘hope in God’ (Psalm 42:11). The chapters in Hope in the Mourning remind me of those various psalms in which the psalmist does not hold back articulating his struggles, but also in which he is willing to pass along the lessons learned. Each chapter in this compilation by Emily Curtis is an account by someone who has faced the kind of hardship and suffering that can tempt even a follower of Christ to feel crushed by sorrow. The various authors openly share their journeys with a refreshing candidness that readers will appreciate. But most important, they clearly share the timeless truths that brought them through the dark valleys.

Each account in Hope in the Mourning is filled with testimony to the goodness of God, even when life hurts. An additional, unique feature is the Hope & Helps section at the end of each chapter. The authors use these sections as an opportunity to offer practical advice as to what they found most helpful: the Bible passages they turned to, the songs they listened to, and even the acts of kindness expressed by friends. In addition, the authors give insight into the type of statements that others ought to avoid when trying to minister to someone going through a difficult time.

Emily has done the church a great service in assembling the various stories in Hope in the Mourning. And the addition of her own poems provides even more food for thought and encouragement for the soul. I am, or have been, the pastor to many of these individuals who have chosen to share their stories in Hope in the Mourning. So I know firsthand of their striving to persevere in times of pain and doubt. And I personally witnessed how the Lord’s comfort became a balm to their hearts. They were an encouragement to my wife and me as we observed their faith winning out over their sense of loss or discouragement or heartache. I am therefore confident that those who are in the midst of great struggles, or who feel like the waves of life’s trials are overwhelming them, will find hope in the midst of their disappointment, their pain, even in their mourning by reading this helpful collection of narratives.

Emily Curtis’s compilation of heartfelt personal accounts of loss which lead to deeper more meaningful relationships with Christ is a window into a richer connection with God for any reader! I personally found the Hope & Helps sections at the end of each story of hope incredibly useful for any of us who mean well but need assistance navigating these delicate conversations.

The last thing a person who is deeply grieving needs is a room full of chatty people or a standard-length book with point A and point B and a study guide that follows. Emily Curtis has captured exactly what someone who has suffered great loss needs in those moments when even close friends aren’t enough. This book is a collection: a cornucopia of Scripture, hymns, sweet stories of God’s comforting grace. In 2014, my wife of almost 45 years stepped into heaven. That’s my story of loss. Maybe it’s yours, too. Or it might be the story of someone you love who has suffered indescribable loss. Emily’s book hadn’t been published when Bobbie died in 2014. But if it had, this book would have been exactly what I would have needed. Thank you, Emily. Your book is a gift.

As a Pastor, I am regularly faced with the privileged ministry of coming alongside people or families traveling the road of suffering. I have witnessed the power of the scriptures being a balm to the wounded and weary soul, and I am thankful for the sufficiency of the Bible. And I am also grateful for the testimony of people who have persevered through trials by God’s grace and His Word. In Hope in the Mourning, Emily Curtis has provided an anthology of powerful stories from ordinary people suffering extraordinary hardships who found hope and healing from God’s presence and Word.

The compelling stories brought me to tears, made me smile, took me into deep periods of contemplation, but most of all, caused me to thank God for His comforting and sustaining grace. The breadth and scope of the twenty-one stories broaden the book’s potential reach. The format is helpful, and I suspect the practical tips at the end of each section will serve many people who desire to walk with suffering friends and/ or families but do not know exactly what to say or do. I can see this book used in the church by pastors and counselors for a long time.

As a physician, I see many people go through very difficult health crises. This book reminds me that those who focus on the Lord—not to the exclusion of their circumstances but more on Him than all else—they are the ones who ultimately “renew their strength and mount up with wings like eagles.”

Oh how thankful I am for a volume like this which you now hold in your hand! Hope in the Mourning resonates with my heart because over a short span of time I personally experienced seven deaths within my own family. It has been the most trying and difficult season of my forty-year Christian life. Over the past 15 years, I’ve experienced approximately one death every two years, including my step-father, my mother, my newborn grandson, my wife, my only sister, my favorite aunt and my mother-in-law.

Each of these deaths became a series of severe trials for which I myself was rocked and pummeled. As both a pastor and a counselor, I now had to become the determined recipient of all that I had previously taught and shared with so many others, drawing for myself such vital, biblical principles for a heart wracked with unimaginable grief and sorrow. I can now honestly say to you, dear fellow sufferer, that it is these very sweet principles of God’s Word, plus the loving care of God’s people, which have been the balm to sustain me during such tumultuous seasons.

As you read through this beautiful book, which seeks to encourage you in your own seasons of hurt, pain, and loss (or perhaps what has occurred to others you both love and cherish and now want to help), may these precious pages become a tangible reminder to you of how God rejoices to take up His spiritual children into His loving arms, especially when the hurting comes.

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