Sample Lesson from "There’s Hope: Living By The Book"

ENDURING HARDSHIP

    Introduction: There will always be trials and hardships in life. The question is, How are we to understand them and deal with them? The Bible reveals that both God and Satan are involved in our trials. Satan’s design is to do us harm and cause us to sin. God’s design, however, is to strengthen and bless us. God intends that through trials we learn humility, develop character, grow spiritually, gain strength, and grasp that His grace is sufficient to help us through all our experiences. As these things happen, we make gains, and God gets the glory. To gain from trials, however, we must act responsibly. We must ask for wisdom, cast our cares on the Lord, resist the devil, stand firm in faith, and persevere. Those who stand the test, God promises, will receive "the crown of life."

    Prayer for Insight: Lord, I don’t like trials. But knowing they will come, I want to be ready and to make the most of them. I want to foil the devil’s attempts to do me in, and I want to experience the gains You promise. To that end help me understand how to endure hardships.

    To study the following Bible verses, read them at least three times:

    • The first time, highlight or mark key words, phrases, or verses.

    • The second time, note and write down what strikes you or what puzzles you.

    • The third time, try to discover and write down what the verses teach about God.

    2 Corinthians 12:7-10: To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    James 1:2-8, 12: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does…. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

    1 Peter 5:7-11: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever...

    What God Is Saying to Me (time for personal reflection and application)

    What I Want to Say to God

    Pray a prayer of your own making or use the following prayer-starters.

    • Lord, I praise You as the gracious and powerful God who is willing and able to help me in all kinds of trials and hardships (Jas. 1:2-6).

    • Thank You for Your sufficient grace, which compensates for my weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9).

    • Give me the wisdom to be joyful amid trials (Jas. 1:2-5), the faith to hand all my cares over to You (1 Pet. 5:7).

    • Strengthen me by Your power so that I may delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties (2 Cor. 12:9-10).