224: Vaneetha Risner | The Truth About Questioning God When Life is Hard

Vaneetha Risner | The Truth About Questioning God When Life is Hard

Vaneetha Risner writes and speaks about finding hope in suffering. Her new Bible study, Desperate for Hope: Questions We Ask God in Suffering, Loss, and Longing as well as her memoir, Walking Through Fire, encourage readers to turn to Christ in their pain.

Her story includes childhood bullying, losing an infant son, developing post-polio syndrome, and going through an unwanted divorce.

She is a regular contributor to Desiring God, and has been featured on Family Life Today, Joni & Friends and Christianity Today.

Vaneetha and her husband Joel live in Raleigh, NC where she is obsessed with London Fog lattes, dark chocolate, and colorful office supplies.

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Vaneetha Risner’s journey began with a crippling disease that marked her childhood. Despite the odds, she defied medical science and took her first steps at the age of seven. But then, an unexpected twist tested her faith in God. She lost her infant son, was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, and her marriage ended. In the depth of her despair, Vaneetha turned to God, as she always had, but this time she cried out to Him in her journal asking Him difficult questions. With each honest conversation, she discovered the importance of seeking answers while still trusting in God’s sovereignty. Join us to learn how Vaneetha’s journey can give you hope and renewed faith in the midst of life’s challenges.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Embrace the comfort of turning to God when times are tough.

  • Realize the importance of confronting hard questions and being sincere with God in times of pain.

  • Obtain practical advice on aiding others through their periods of hardship.

  • Acknowledge God’s control and loving nature despite facing difficult circumstances.

  • Identify the essential role of friendships and group bonds in overcoming suffering and seeking hope.


“I think leaning into [questions] and going to God with all of those emotions is really what’s going to be the making of your faith.” – Vaneetha Risner

“When suffering comes in wave after wave, saying the right stuff does not hold up. You need a relationship. You need to be able to go to God and trust that he will take your words, he will use them.” – Vaneetha Risner

“Even more than counseling was journaling on my healing journey.” – Vaneetha Risner

Believing in God’s Love in the Midst of Suffering

Suffering can make it challenging to believe in God’s love and goodness. In hard times, it’s not uncommon to question how a loving God could allow such pain and heartache. However, trusting in God’s love during these times is essential for finding hope and enduring difficulties. The more one anchors their faith in God’s love, the more peace they will experience, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. In the conversation, Vaneetha Risner shares how she was able to trust God’s love despite enduring numerous painful experiences in her life. She addresses the importance of anchoring oneself in God’s love and recognizing that suffering doesn’t mean abandonment. Vaneetha encourages listeners to remember that God is present in the midst of suffering and that His love remains steadfast, even when it feels like all hope is lost.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Check out Vaneetha Risner’s Bible study, Desperate for Hope, which addresses common questions about suffering, loss, and longing.

  • Connect with Vaneetha Risner on her website, Vaneetha.com, to learn more about her story and resources for those facing suffering and loss.

  • Vaneetha’s memoir: Walking Through Fire

Related Episodes:

I think leaning into [questions] and going to God with all of those emotions is really what's going to be the making of your faith.
Hymns that convey an elevated, glorious, big view of God help bolster my hope

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