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Holding on to Hope


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(Evangelical Christianity/Consolation) In late 1998, doctors diagnosed Guthrie's newborn daughter, Hope, with Zellweger syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, and gave Hope less than six months to live. Guthrie, a media relations specialist who has a 10-year-old son without the disease, tells of Hope's brief life with raw emotion, but never resorts to cloying sentimentality. After Hope's death, Guthrie's husband had a vasectomy to prevent future pregnancies. Thus they were shocked to learn, a year and a half later, that Nancy was pregnant again. Although there was only a 25% chance that the baby would carry the disease, they soon discovered that this child, a son, would also be a Zellweger baby. Gabriel lived just one day shy of six months, dying in January of this year. In trying to extract meaning behind such suffering, Guthrie turns to the Book of Job, teasing out themes of restoration and redemption amidst Job's many trials. She is honest about her own terrible sorrow; after outlining God's possible purpose for the fleeting lives of these two children, Guthrie admits, "That is what I believe. It is not necessarily how I feel." She says that her decision to trust in God is a daily choice, not a onetime sacrifice, and that some days such submission is easier to embody than others. The book closes with a time-honored evangelical altar call. And here, it works. Readers who have immersed themselves in Guthrie's honest story of redemptive suffering will examine their own faith in a new light. (July 16) Forecast: When a Time magazine feature article relayed the Guthrie family's story last July, untold numbers of people became familiar with their tale of hope arising from apparent tragedy. Excerpts from this book will appear in USA Today, and Guthrie will do a multicity author tour. The book's release date is July 16, which would have been Gabriel Guthrie's first birthday. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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