For people who are strengthened in their Christian walk by reading stories of God at work in difficult situations, National Woman’s Missionary Union has published “Because of Hope: Reflections of Faith,” a collection of 50 stories from Southern Baptist contributors.
The book supports WMU’s emphasis for 2022–24: “Hope in Christ.”
“Many contributing authors have been through horrific life events,” noted Sandy Wisdom-Martin, WMU executive director.
“Hope in Christ sustained them or enabled them to persevere,” she said. “Because of that hope, they can proclaim the goodness of God and testify to His work in their lives.
“WMU leaders are rallying around our hope in Christ, seeking Him to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others,” Wisdom-Martin said.
“I am incredibly inspired by the stories of individuals, and I knew readers would be as well,” she added. “I thought it would be encouraging to hear the faith reflections of multiple authors speaking into the same topic.”
Contributors include Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources; Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary; Todd Unzicker, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; and TAB Media Group’s Jennifer Davis Rash, president and editor in chief, and Trennis Henderson, regional correspondent.
“We sought authors from a broad spectrum of Southern Baptist life representing missions volunteers as well as local church, associational, state convention and national SBC entity leadership,” Wisdom-Martin said. “I simply emailed friends and asked them to consider being an author for this work of inspirational stories.”
Her contribution to the book is about a couple who adopted a daughter with severe medical needs and then adopted a son with similar needs. They followed God in a move from Alabama to Idaho and saw Him work in undeniable ways to use difficult things for good.
The story “follows the journey of a precious family intent to follow God’s will no matter what,” Wisdom-Martin said. “I see God at work at every turn in their lives. It is one of my favorite stories that is still being written by the hand of God.”
Marty, the adoptive mother, says, “We’re glad to share our story. It’s God’s story.”
Wisdom-Martin added: “Yes, it is, with Jesus as the centerpiece. There is indeed hope in Christ. God always involves us in His plans. Are you living out His purposes for your life?”
Impact of mentors
Using the fruit of the Spirit, Rash wrote about the impact mentors have had on her life and how she tries to help others.
“As I work to cull the withered parts of my heart to make more room for the Holy Spirit to nurture the fruit planted in me, I am reminded to look around for others who might need to borrow my clippers for a time,” Rash wrote.
Mandrell recounted some of his ministry transitions and shared what God taught him about changing seasons in life.
“Here’s the reward of having a willing heart to step out of your comfort zone and into a new season: As you walk into a new season, you experience the power of the Holy Spirit,” Mandrell wrote. “The reason many of us don’t experience this power is because we don’t leave what’s easy. We’ve gotten too comfortable in our current season.”
With the theme “Hope in Christ” through the next couple of years, WMU’s resources will highlight that because of hope in Him, people can be genuine in love, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer and compassionate to all.
“Because of Hope” can be read individually or used in small groups, according to WMU. A free leader guide is available for download at wmustore.com. The book study is structured as a weekend retreat, but can be adapted for a book club.
“The world is desperate for a word of hope,” Wisdom-Martin said. “As Christians, we know there is nothing equivalent to hope found in Christ. When hope in Christ is all you have, hope in Christ is all you need.
“Though each of us are in the midst of our own story, we full well know the ending — so what comes today or in the future matters not. The redemptive work of our Savior is complete, and we declare with confidence and boldness that our hope is in Christ alone.”