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Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy
By Cameron Cole
"Throughout the journey of my worst nightmare—my descent into a dark, sad valley—the Holy Spirit would remind me of truths that comforted my soul and sustained my life."
After the sudden death of their three-year-old son, Cameron Cole and his wife found themselves clinging to Christ through twelve key theological truths—truths that became their lifeline in the midst of unthinkable grief. Weaving together their own story of tragic loss and abiding faith, Cole explores these twelve life-giving truths to offer hope and comfort to those in the midst of tragedy.
What will you do when your Worst happens? Cameron Cole’s fear was that he would turn his back on God and walk away from Christianity. It’s a very real fear. When we are hurt by life, we tend to blame God and accuse Him of unfairness. Sometimes we turn our backs on Him forever. Thankfully, that was not what happened in Cameron’s story.
Instead, he turned to the word of God and the truth he found there enabled him to get through his pain. This book is a chronicle of the lessons he learned, lessons that, when shared with us can help us through whatever Bad or Worst situation we are going through.
Know God: Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy is a book about knowing God. As we learn more about who He is, it allows us to love Him more. Our knowledge of God gives us courage, faith, hope to walk in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Know yourself: We learn more about who we are as we explore the awesome, boundless, matchless character of who God is.
Run your race: As Cameron walked us through his grief, he gave us snapshots of other persons who also walked through grief. Each person made a choice – a decision to run their own race. When your Worst happens, you have to choose how you will let it shape you.
But the Lord put a word in my mouth that surprised me. When Lauren delivered the tragic news, I said to her, “Lauren, Christ is risen from the dead. God is good. This doesn’t change that fact.” God gave me faith and hope while I stood squarely in the middle of my Worst.
When bad things happen, we need to remember that it does not change the character of God. It is not a reflection on His greatness. God is good. Full stop.
In our Worst we must learn to ask constantly for God’s help.
Too often we try to do things in our own puny strength. We have to ask for help. More specifically, we need to ask God for help.
Even if our Worst is the making of our own mistakes, the Lord desires to show mercy.
It’s easy for us to believe that our Worst is a punishment or that God is having revenge on us, but that’s not the case. God’s mercy is always available.
Remember that God is on your side. He is for you. His love for you is more than a tepid fondness. His love is a passionate, intense, self-sacrificing affection that fills his heart. It is the love of a proud father holding his beloved baby for the first time.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not our grief, or anger or having to walk through the worst thing we can imagine. He loves us with an everlasting love.
Related: In His Image review
In all of these cases, we must remember that our stories fall under Christ’s story of redemption. Your life is but a chapter in God’s greater narrative of restoring the world. Your Worst is merely a chapter in your own story. If we allow God to write our stories and to carry us through the season of darkness and despair, he will ensure that redemption constitutes the central progression of our stories.
Your Worst will not last forever. The season of bleakness is just a short bit of your story. It may change the things that you had come to take for granted, but it also carries the potential to deepen and improve your relationship with God.
Have you read Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy? What did you think? What was your favorite quote?
I received a copy of the book through the Crossway Blog Review program in exchange for my honest review.
Cameron Cole (MA, Wake Forest University) serves as director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the chairman of Rooted, a ministry dedicated to fostering gospel-centered student ministry.