"That is something we hold onto, that's what hope is and that's what was accomplished in her life," says Guthrie. "Hope has two aspects that are central - it is the promise of purpose in this life and the promise of perfection in the life to come. Hope is founded on an understanding of a future in which God sets everything right."

 

This belief was quickly tested. To prevent future pregnancies, Nancy's husband David underwent a vasectomy. It didn't take. Toward the end of 2000, Nancy discovered she was pregnant. The couple's initial excitement over the possibility of having a healthy child to raise was forever dashed after prenatal testing showed Nancy was carrying another Zellwegger baby. Gabriel Guthrie lived almost six months. He died on January 15, 2002.

 

"It is through this storm that I believe Jesus is calling me to step out of the boat and to trust Him in a way that I never have before," Guthrie told friends when she was pregnant with Gabriel. "If I turn and I look at the wind and the waves, I'm sunk. But if I keep my focus on Him, He can enable me to walk on water in a way that the world will say, 'You can't do that.'"

 

Guthrie admits she hasn't been able to make sense of it all. "I don't think I ever will. There are mysteries about suffering that I don't think we'll ever understand in this life," she adds. "Unless we come to the place where we believe He allowed it, it did come out of His love for me and it's for my ultimate good, that's where people end up turning their backs on God."

 

The Anchor

 

Kathy Troccoli also speaks of trusting the Lord: "I've lost two parents to cancer. I struggled with bulimia for 10 years. I claimed bankruptcy when I was 30. I've struggled with the issues of singleness. I battled my own seasons of depression.

 

"What I tell women first," says Troccoli, "is the fact that we'll all go through storms. The second thing I tell them about is the anchor - about knowing who you are in Christ and knowing who He is."

 

Troccoli says she offers hope to women by reminding them, constantly, of who Jesus is and who they are in Christ: "Do you know that you are beloved? Do you know how precious you are? Do you know He is crazy in love with you? Do you know that the Word says that He is going to accomplish what concerns you today? Psalm 138:8 says He will accomplish it. Do you believe it, or do you not believe it?"

Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry asked themselves that very question last year. The two women were among eight Christian aid workers arrested and imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan for preaching Christianity, a charge that usually brings execution. Although they were rescued by U.S. Special Forces on November 15, 2001, they spent over three months wondering if each day would be their last.