Green Hearts

“This book is rare. It never suggests Christians can sidestep life’s toughest issues. But there’s warmth, hope, insight, and reassurance of God’s love and support through the darkest times. Every chapter moved me and helped me. Green Hearts is a book for those who face struggles, which is all of us.”

Dr. Alistair Brown, Oxford, England
Retired President of Northern Seminary | Lisle, IL

“For forty plus years I have practiced medicine/surgery. During that time I have seen hundreds and thousands of people experience tragedy, grief, and sorrow. True healing, whether physical or spiritual, is a continual process. There will always be a scar. Green Hearts reminds me that Jesus indeed calmed the Sea of Galilee, and there is no storm in our hearts that He cannot calm or heal.”

Randy W. Cooper, MD, Chief of Surgery
University Hospital | Augusta, GA


Life is not skipping from mountain peak to mountain peak. Everyone experiences pain. It is the common ground on which all humanity stands. This book presents some of the most tragic and painful situations of life and answers the hard question of “why” from a Christian perspective. The inspiration for this book comes from the sudden death of one of the co-author’s ten-year-old daughter, Ella, who loved “Green Hearts.” In addition to real-life stories of God’s goodness in the worst of times, topics include:

  • Understanding and dealing with grief
  • Questioning God during difficult times
  • Helping someone who is grieving
  • Surprising things God does during tragedy
  • Answering the problem of pain, evil, and suffering
  • Forgiving a person who has hurt you


“I was president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when several of our students were killed in the Wedgwood Baptist Church shootings. During the community-wide service honoring the lives of the students, one of the clergy prayed a simple prayer: ‘Father, thank You that You waste nothing. Amen.’ With honesty and transparency, Jeff Bumgardner and Stephen Cutchins share personal stories of grief and give comfort by reminding us that ‘God never wastes a hurt.’ He is still good in the worst of times. Green Hearts is help for those who are hurting.”

Dr. Ken Hemphill, Special Assistant to the President
North Greenville University | Tigerville, SC

“A mentor told me years ago to never speak beyond my own experiences. I have not known the depths of this kind of pain and grief in my own life but have watched others walk through it. Jeff and Stephen write from a perspective of walking through their personal losses and struggles. Green Hearts is the kind of book I want to share with those around me who are walking their own difficult journeys.”

Denise Jones, Christian Music Artist
Point of Grace | Brentwood, TN

“In writing Green Hearts, Jeff Bumgardner and Dr. Stephen Cutchins have rendered a great service to the body of Christ. In my more than half-century of ministry, one of the most persistent questions I have been asked is, “Why do terrible things happen to Christians, and what do you do when it happens to you?” Green Hearts answers these questions in inspiring, yet easy to understand ways. Putting a human face on the problem of grief by using the testimonies of real people who have experi- enced terrible tragedy gives Green Hearts even greater impact. I am ordering a steady supply of Green Hearts to share with people who are dealing with grief.”

Dr. Richard Land, president
Southern Evangelical Seminary | Charlotte, NC

“Dr. Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner have provided a book that contains some of the best of truths about some of the worst of times. Those who do not read it will miss experiencing the utmost about His highest in their lowest moments of life.”

Dr. Norman Geisler, Distinguished Senior Professor of Theology and Apologetics
Southern Evangelical Seminary | Charlotte, NC

“Green Hearts” on the shelf at Barnes and Noble

“I am honored to commend and encourage this book to all who read it. The authors are men of God whose faith and character have been hammered out upon the anvil of heartbreak and hardship. They write not as theorists, but practitioners. They do not provide philosophies of suffering, but the reality of it. Suffering and death exert life-altering impact on all of us—our faith, our relationships, our future. You may not want to read this book, but you cannot avoid the need for its message and ministry to help provide a hope and a future beyond your present suffering. I recommend you read it.”

Dr. David H. McKinley, Pastor-Teacher
Warren Baptist Church | Augusta, GA

“Green Hearts describes grief and loss with stunning clarity. If you have experienced grief, you will see yourself in the thoughts and actions, fears and pain, and feel to the depths of your soul the reality of loss on this messy planet. But you will also experience the hope of these who have walked in the darkest of days and can still say, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him’ (Job 13:15). That is the hope we have in Christ—’God did this so that . . . we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’ (Hebrews 6:18-19b NIV).”

Dr. Norma Hedin, Provost
Dallas Baptist University | Dallas, TX

“What do you do when you are in the presence of God and wor- ship will not come? As you read this compelling book, you will discover the stories of many who have been in that exact spot. There is tremendous help in the pages that are in front of you. As you consider the reality you face, you will also encounter a God who is big enough to redeem any situation!”

Dr. David B. Horton, President
Fruitland Baptist Bible College | Hendersonville, NC

“Have you ever noticed how a broken arm is easier to heal than a broken heart, a shattered dream, or a splintered life? In Green Hearts, Dr. Stephen Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner offer help and hope for those whose emotional pain and grief is real and raw. They share from the depths of their own experiences of personal, painful loss, and they give a voice to others who share their own stories of hurt and recovery as well. The spot-on scriptural insights, combined with the testimonies, remind us that God is always incredibly good, even if life is sometimes terribly bad. There’s healing here. I recommend this book.”

Dr. J. Kie Bowman, Senior Pastor
Hyde Park Baptist/The Quarries Church | Austin, TX

“The longer I serve in ministry, the more I’m convinced that most of us don’t know how to deal with pain. Stephen Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner reminded me of my own times of heartbreak; but they also reminded me that God is infinitely good, even in the darkest moments of life. The stories in this book will break your heart, but they will also point to the comfort that broken hearts long for.”

Ryan Rush, Senior Pastor
Kingsland Baptist Church | Katy, TX

“Whether asking why or how questions in the darkness of grief, Green Hearts shares light and hope. The reader will experience authentic empathy and help from fellow strugglers who have experienced the goodness of God in their darkest hours.”

Dr. Steve Cloud, President
Vision Ventures | Columbia, SC

“Bumgardner and Cutchins share with every reader how to get help from God and His people to handle the emotional journey we all take sooner or later—the journey through grief. I was moved, blessed, and helped practically, and you will be too.”

Dr. Dick Lincoln, Retired Pastor
Shandon Baptist Church | Columbia, SC

“Everyone has experienced, or will experience, grief and pain as we go through life. This collection of testimonies, words of explanation and counsel, and appropriate Bible passages should help every reader. Hearts that are ‘green’ with bitterness and disappointment can become ‘green’ with new vitality by reading this book.”

Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Senior Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition
Dallas Theological Seminary | Dallas, TX

“Grief is both universal and unique. We all face it, but the circumstances surrounding each loss and the relationships involved make it something hard to pin down when trying to comfort those in need of comforting. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t try to give one definitive answer for the grieving, but it shows that loss and grief do not have to define you and that there will be a tomorrow when the sun will actually shine again. For those of us who have walked through these dark valleys, Green Hearts is a comforting recollection of where we’ve been. And for those who have yet to journey to that unfortunate place, it is a refreshing map to show the way across and through.”

Joel Lindsey, Christian Music Songwriter and Publisher | Santa Barbara, CA


Recent Posts


Have you ever considered the simple truth that all you have to offer is YOU? If that is true, what are you offering? Is what you offer to those around you full of exhaustion and anxiety, or are you serving up your best?
Too often, daily tasks like sleeping enough, eating well, exercising regularly, connecting with people we love, engaging with meaningful hobbies, and making time for personal reflection take a back seat to the busyness of life. Why is that? Why do we sometimes feel we must constantly work and help others?
Jack Nevison did a study that showed 50 hours on the job yielded only 37 hours of productivity. However, if you raised it to 55 hours on the job, it caused a drop to only 30 hours of useful work. When we push past 50 hours in a week, we don’t get more done.
To make a difference, you must take care of yourself. You are all you have to offer. If we don’t get this, we will burn out and quit before completing the work God has for us. Self-care drives success and significance. So let’s explore the topic of “rest” and take note that even God rested after all of His work. 
“And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:2-3)


1) Rest in the right order. 

How many of us always thought our day started in the morning? Let’s take a look at the creation story, as we see how God began each day in the evening, not the morning.

When God created the days, we find these words in Genesis: “So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5 NKJV). 

This pattern repeats as God continues to create on each successive day. “So the evening and the morning were the second day” (Genesis 1:8 NKJV). 

As we see here, your day does not begin when you get up. It starts when you go to sleep. Rest begins your new day, not coffee. 

God began each day in the evening, not the morning. So should we. 

2) Rest in the right rhythm.

Mother Theresa said, “To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.” Resting is more than just a matter of convenience; it is a matter of obedience. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. (Exodus 20:8-9)

However, to obey God in rest, we have to repent of people-pleasing! There is no rest without repentance. Repentance is simply changing your mind to follow God’s plan for you instead of people’s plans for you. 

There are three fundamental ways people express their plans for you. Each of these levels has an increasing intensity and will require a higher level of assertiveness in your response.

LEVEL 1 – DESIRE: This is when people have the desire for you to do something or be at something. You can look at this as “wow, that’s nice they want me to be involved.” They give you room to say yes or no, and if you say no, they won’t get mad.

LEVEL 2 – EXPECTATION: At this level, people expect you to do things they think should be done. If you say no, they get mad. But just remember, to say yes to the right things, you will need to say no to the wrong things. 

LEVEL 3 – DEMAND: Sometimes, people forcibly try to make you do something that will take you outside of the will of God. Demanding people are dangerous people, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. Limit your exposure to these types of people, and be prepared to set up healthy and firm boundaries. 

Confession: Over the years, I have allowed expectations from people in my life to override God’s plan for rest. Let me invite you to join me in saying, as of today that ends.

3) Rest allows for physical recovery.

You need rest to be at your best because rest allows time for God to restore your passion. Self-care also fuels creativity. God rests first, then He works, and it’s a beautiful model to follow. 

The Bible teaches that those who do not work are lazy. However, the Bible says that those who do not rest are disobedient.

4) Rest allows your soul to catch up with you.

 Over the summer, I went on a month-long sabbatical where I disconnected from social media, the phone, email, and daily tasks that compete for my attention. Slowly as I let go of work, my soul began to catch up, and refreshment and happiness filled my heart. A key component to rest is contentment. It was so good for my soul to spend uninterrupted time with my family finding contentment in the simple things. 

Contentment is being satisfied with what you already have.

As we learn in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a “time for everything,” and the sabbatical proved to be my time for a soul revival and refreshing. I’ve noticed that the first place people tend to cut is self-care because it seems like an unnecessary luxury. But we can see above that sacrificing rest is not God’s desire or command for us. So if you are looking for a breakthrough, you may need to take a break. 


So which one of these everyday tasks do you need to reassess to be at your best?

  • Sleeping enough
  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Connecting with people we love
  • Engaging with meaningful hobbies
  • Making time for personal reflection

If you’re unsure what you need to adjust, spend time with your Heavenly Father and ask Him. Remember, it is NOT selfish to rest. You are all you have to offer, which should be your best, and that can only happen if you rest.

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