Hope for the Hurting – Tony Evans

Hope for the Hurting by Tony Evans
Also by this author: Kingdom Stewardship, Kingdom Encounters: Experiencing More of God When Life Hurts
Published by B&H Publishing on January 11, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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four-stars

Life is painful.
Everyone's story comes with unique challenges, difficulties, bumps, and bruises that leave you lost and drowning in their wake. It could be a financial disaster, a health issue, a broken relationship, or the loss of a loved one.
Dr. Tony Evans, bestselling author and pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, understands life's hardships firsthand. In a span of less than two years, he lost his brother, sister, brother-in-law, two nieces, father, and wife. At the same time, both of his daughters received cancer diagnoses. In the wake of all this pain, Dr. Evans had to put into practice, at the deepest levels, the truths he has preached about God for more than forty years.
God's Word doesn't promise us a life free from pain and trouble. It promises us something else—Someone else. Someone who will walk with us through all of life's trials and troubles.
There is hope for the hurting: His name is Jesus.

Tony Evans has been a respected voice for decades. His calm demeanor, engaging writing, and quiet wit has made his books accessible, readable, and understandable. In Hope for the Hurting, Evans lends his traditional style to a deeply personal and conversational discussion of leaning on God in times of pain. Tony Evans wrote Hope for the Hurting amid a pandemic, in the wake of the wife’s death (among several other family deaths), with both of his daughters facing cancer diagnoses, struggling with his own health issues, and watching his racist elements of his denomination (the Southern Baptist Convention) have their voices grow ever louder.

Hope for the Hurting has a cathartic undercurrent to it. Writers write to express themselves and writers like Tony Evans inevitably end up having that writing shared with others. Using his own experience, Evans sits in solidarity with readers offering the lessons he’s learned through his time of loss. This book is pastoral and it’s almost better read aloud than read silently. It’s like a letter that was meant to be spoken. You can hear his speaking cadence and train of thought.

In six quick chapters, Hope for the Hurting invites readers to come to the Comforter, find meaning and redemption in their suffering, and rest and rely on God’s grace. This is a small book—probably around 10-15k words, easily read in one sitting or as a one-week, one-chapter-a-day devotional. Evans understands that those coming to this book, those who see Hope for the Hurting and pick it up to understand that hope, don’t want anything too involved or academic. They just want to know that hope is there. Evans gives readers exactly that.

I do want to push back against the “God does everything for a reason” theology that Evans employs. While I think God takes our struggles and redeems them, while I think he creates purpose out of them, I don’t believe that God makes us suffer. He is not the cause of our suffering. We must be careful when we say that God has a reason “for the fiery trials and difficulties we face” (p 37), lest we make out God to be the author of evil and suffering.

Despite that, Hope for the Hurting is a solid book. If you like Evans’ previous books and this one speaks to you, it’ll seem like the words of a trusted friend. But it is more situation-specific. It’s exhortative, not educative. It’s here to lift up. It’s here for the moment. If you need some hope, let Tony Evans direct you.

four-stars