by Howard and Jeanne Tomlinson


Foreword

Jeanne and Howard Tomlinson have always been Christians who “walked their talk” and whose faith has become richer, deeper and more joyful in spite of trials harsher than many of us will ever experience.  But even in the midst of the hardest times of their own, both of them had a reputation of reaching out to encourage others.
    During what was surely one of their toughest times, for instance, we saw Jeanne turning to Howard and saying, “Howie, it’s Steve’s birthday!  We need to call him and wish him a happy birthday.” They would dial the number and play a recording of Howard playing the greeting on his trumpet.  In their house you could find page after page of birthdates written on scraps of paper that they would use to remind themselves to give a little encouragement to someone.  This book will surely be the best gift of encouragement they could ever offer, because it represents the very fabric of God’s work in their lives.
    Years before her marriage to Howard Tomlinson, Jeanne Coppedge had learned what it meant to be hurt deeply by someone.  Rather than letting it make her bitter, she turned to the Lord.  For over a year, she undertook an in-depth study of the attributes of God, cataloging and arranging all the Bible verses that teach God’s sovereignty, wisdom and loving care.
    More than anything else, even though she had been raised in a Christian home and was a solid believer since childhood, this exercise gave Jeanne the stable foundation to endure trials.  Her Bibles and notebooks are filled with hand-written notes and personal prayers that express a spiritual depth and maturity attained by few Christians today.
    Jeanne and Howie’s wedding day was a picture-perfect celebration of joy and promise, but it was soon to open a whole new chapter of fear, pain and uncertainty.  Nevertheless, because they had vowed before God and witnesses to honor and uphold each other “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, till death do us part,” their faith continued to grow and deepen as well as their love for each other, their compassion for others and their confidence in God.
    Along the way, their trials opened new doors of ministry both with their local churches and with well-known organizations like Joni Eareckson Tada’s Joni and Friends (who devoted three radio programs to their story), James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America with Beverly LaHaye, Dr. John MacArthur’s Grace to You and Dave Dravecky’s Outreach of Hope.  One only had to see the outpouring of compassion toward Jeanne and Howard during their climactic trials to see that their ministry of encouragement was dearly loved and appreciated.
    Ten years after they began their experience in the cauldron of trials, Jeanne decided to put their “lessons learned” on paper so others could benefit.  Thus began this book.  Asked who was the primary author, Howard said, “Jeanne wrote it; I lived it.” It will be clearly evident that it was a team effort all the way.
    They frequently gave out free copies of this book in its unfinished form, which they simply photocopied with their own meager funds, to friends and acquaintances.  Thanks to donations from many friends and supporters, we are pleased now to have this new printing available for a much wider audience, and also to have the complete book available on the Internet at creationsafaris.com/HopeForHurt.
    We are sure you will find Hope For Those Who Hurt to be not only an engaging story, but a very practical and Scripturally sound guide to navigating the unexpected “twists and turns” of life.  The Tomlinsons’ story illustrates how trials may appear random, pointless and chaotic, but in retrospect can be seen as God’s guiding hand leading us to spiritual maturity.  You can be assured that this is a book written not by armchair strategists dispensing platitudes but by two well-trained veterans who can confidently extend hope to you, dear hurting reader, based on their own real-life experiences.

May God bless you as you read.
Judy Rose and David Coppedge, Jeanne’s sister and brother


 


 

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Testimonials Table of Contents Introduction