Nancy Guthrie is no stranger to suffering. After her second child, Hope, died within a year of birth from Zellweger syndrome, a rare, fatal genetic abnormality, Guthrie began writing Holding On to Hope, a book about coping with loss and grief. She was in the final stages of writing when she became pregnant with a third child, Gabriel, who was also diagnosed with Zellweger. Gabriel lived for six months.
Since Gabriel's death, Guthrie has written many books and articles, and has traveled around the country speaking at conferences about the Christian response to suffering. Her latest work, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow (Tyndale), which came out last month, is an expansion of themes introduced in her previous books, adding, as Nancy writes in the introduction, "the perspective of years and further understanding of the Scriptures." Her.meneutics contributor Ruth Moon talked to Guthrie about the health-and-wealth gospel and how to comfort friends who are grieving.
What place do you want Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow to have on the bookshelf of Christian books about suffering? What niche does it fill?
I hope this book is not a "grief" book. It speaks to people who are grieving, but I hope people see it as a theological book. I hope that the book would be that theological thinking through of suffering, but also an invitation to those of us who say that Jesus means everything to us and that we want to follow him, to live that out in the hardest, lowest places of life, that when we enter into unimaginable suffering, it's obvious that Jesus is still everything to us, that he is still the solid ground beneath our feet, and that he is who we're grabbing hold of and depending on and whom we love and treasure and trust.1
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