Even in the Unexpected, Hope Remains
A Book Review of Hope Remains--Seeing the Goodness of God in the Shadow of Suffering
By: Reppard and Summer Gordon
I remember hearing about the accident. I wasn't a Christian yet; I knew nothing of Jesus or of prayer. However, when I learned of the crisis that was unfolding for a friend of a friend, my heart stopped. A mother myself, my heart went out to this stranger. I stopped what I was doing to pull my children closer--the one in my womb and the 4-year-old who skipped about the room. I held my children closer not because I was scared but because my heart empathized with the extreme grief that mother must have been feeling at that moment. In the coming days, I followed the story and was heartbroken to learn of the outcome. I didn't understand why her son had to die. My heart ached at the finality of it all.
I never anticipated how the coming months would unfold or how my path would cross with that precious mother, that absolute stranger I held in my heart. I never imagined that months later, I would experience my own type of tragedy, and through that, I would find God. I never imagined I would find myself sitting a few people away from her in a circle with a Bible in my lap. I never imagined how my perspective on life would change once I learned of the Gospel. It's both amazing and mysterious how God works. It's incredible how He calls us to Him and how we can find community and wholeness in our brokenness. I am fascinated at how He connects us, how He wastes nothing, and how He weaves a glorious, golden thread of purpose through our stories.
I consider myself blessed to know Summer. Had I not met her that fateful day, I have no doubt Hope Remains would have opened my heart to accepting Christ. Hope Remains is a beautiful testament to God’s goodness, even in pain and suffering. Losing a child is an unspeakable tragedy, yet Reppard and Summer bravely and vulnerably recount the most difficult time in their lives, giving glory to God with each turn of the page. In true humility, the couple surrenders time and time again to God’s greater plan, allowing Him to shape and refine them using their sorrow and grief for His Kingdom. With Biblical encouragement, the Gordons encourage their readers to see God’s eternal perspective in their story while sharing the opportunity for readers to claim it for themselves, too.
Both Summer and her husband beautifully share their intimate encounters with God amidst their suffering. These anecdotal stories are some of my favorite moments in their novel, Hope Remains. Each story does a wonderful job of illustrating the faithful character of God—how He goes before us, how He prepares us, how He extends mercy, how He wastes nothing, how He works all things together for good. These stories stirred something in my heart. These stories grew my faith and amplified my love for our precious Savior.
Even if you have not experienced loss, Hope Remains will speak to the depths of your soul, highlighting the eternal hope that is available to everyone. The Gospel and the transforming power of Jesus are boldly proclaimed throughout the Gordon’s story. Readers will likely find themselves inspired, compelled even, to follow in the footsteps of Summer and Reppard. If this seemingly ordinary and imperfect couple can experience tragedy yet respond in grace, mercy, and obedience, and come out changed for the better—surely with the help of Jesus, nothing is impossible, and there is HOPE for the rest of us, too.
Disclosure: As a member of the focus group and launch team, I did receive a discounted, advanced copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.