Do you ever feel like life has to be going a certain way for you to be happy? I’ve found that when I hope in God, life is good no matter what. But when I hope in other things—a Covid-free existence, a peaceful world that all likes each other, and a smoke-free Montana for example—life is not always good.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea that life has to be great for us to be happy. Yet the Bible tells us we can learn to be content no matter what’s happening. If peace and joy come through walking in the Spirit, we don’t need to have life go a certain way for us to be peaceful and joyful.
Yes, we grieve when hard things happen—and it’s okay and healthy to grieve. But as we grieve, the more we lean into God and learn to trust Him, the more likely our grief will turn to joy. I hope this Bible study will help with whatever hard things you’re going through today.
Hope in God Bible Study
- Think of what’s happening in your life and the world around you right now. What do you think you have to have to be happy?
- If you don’t get what you want, what are you afraid will happen–and why will that be so bad?
- Is there anything you need to accept? (Note: It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes we need to accept that the things we fear may actually happen before we can find peace and joy. When we’re not willing to accept that, we stay stuck in our fear and discontentment.)
- What would hoping in God look like in this situation?
- What would change about the way you think and act if you were to consistently hope in God in this situation? (Note: We’re not hoping in God to give us what we want. We’re hoping in God to be enough even if we don’t get what we want!)
- James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5 tell us that trials have the potential to make us grow. In what ways will you mature if you start hoping in God in this situation?
- Read Galatians 5:16, 22-23. What fruit of the Spirit will you experience (that you aren’t currently experiencing) if you start hoping in God rather than hoping in what you feel needs to happen in this situation for you to be happy?
- Why do you think hoping in God will lead to those fruits of the Spirit?
- What do the following Bible verses have to say about this subject? Try to personalize each verse to your own situation. (For example, with Philippians 4:11-13, you could say, I can learn to be content even if (fill in the blank) happens because I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.)
- What is your biggest takeaway from this Bible study? (I ask this question at the end of each lesson in my new James Bible study which will be out in November, 2021. God often gives me new insight when I answer that question in addition to remembering what I learned in the lesson.)
I hope this Bible study leads to hope. We’re going through a hard period in history, but you may also be going through a hard time in your own life. Always remember that God loves you and wants to help. My prayer is that you’ll feel His love and comfort and hope today. Check out the resources below for more help.
To download a printable Hope in God Bible study, click here:Hope in God Bible Study
More Resources for Hope in God
- Blog series on idolatry The opposite of hoping in God is hoping in other things, which leads to idolatry. This link leads to a series I wrote years ago on idolatry, which also includes an Identify Your Idol Quiz.
- Freedom from Emotional Eating – In a sense, this whole Bible study is about hoping in God. While the first chapter is geared toward hoping in food instead of God, the majority of the Bible study is helpful for anyone, even if you’re not an emotional eater. There is a full chapter in the book on idolatry.
- Printable Bible study: Keeping the Faith in the Storms of Life
- Printable Bible study for today’s study: Hope in God Bible Study
This is maryse from beirut, lebanon. Thank you for your mail. It encouraged me to read you this morning. My country is going through a crisis and im struggling with a lot of hardships on a personal level. I need a special prayer from you.
Barb Raveling says
Oh, Maryse, I’m so sorry. I just read up on Lebanon and I can’t believe what you guys are going through right now. So so sad! I noticed they just signed a fuel deal with Iraq? Is there any chance that will make things better for you? Let me pray for you. Lord, I pray that you would intervene and help the people in Lebanon. Please help to ease the crisis in their country and provide them with electricity and an end to the inflation. I pray that you would be with the people who are suffering and that you would intervene on their behalf. We thank you that you are still in control and that if you allow anything, we know you can bring good from it. Please give Maryse and her family peace and joy and ease her personal struggles, as well, Lord. I thank you for how much you love her and how much you can do in her life despite the hard things she’s going through. —- I’ll continue to pray for your country, Maryse, and also you and your family. I don’t know how much family you have there, if any, but I will pray for them just in case.
Thank you Barb for your sweet message and prayer. All my family is here indeed. There must be a reason for the Lord to have allowed the inflation, the fuel problem, the august explosion where we lost all our houses and the bank crisis where we lost all our savings. wons to mention Corona. I keep looking for the reason and try to accept his will. But,its hard and this electricity problem(the latest) that is stopping us from trying to work to bring food on the table is the utmost. Those 2 weeks, I am spiritually dry and went back to isolating and eating chocolate. I am so anxious that I can’t even concentrate on a prayer.
I need your prayers and insight.Thanks
Barb Raveling says
Oh Maryse, that is all so hard. I’ve never experienced suffering at that level so I’m not sure I’m the best one to provide insight. Your country’s experience right now reminds me of Job. It seems like one bad thing after another is happening to you guys and I can’t believe how discouraging it must be.
I do think trials can make us feel far away from God. It seems like many people in the Bible experienced that as well. It seems to me that with each new trial I encounter, I need to learn the path to God through that particular suffering. The path seems dim and hard to find in the beginning but if I keep renewing my mind, He helps me see the trial from His perspective and that helps with the fears and sorrows and I also begin to feel closer to Him again.
I do have a Bible study on trials called RALLY that I could email you if you’d like – your trial is WAY bigger than any of the examples I use in Rally but it could help. If you’d like me to email it to you, email me through my website under the start here tab – or I think I could get your email through this comment, so you could just reply to my comment as well.
Praying you will feel God’s comfort and presence and that He will bring healing to your country. All that has been happening lately does make me wonder if it’s the end times.
Maryse–please know that I am praying for you on a personal level and for your country on a national one. I can only imagine what you are going through. God be with you moment by moment.
Your sister in Christ, Ky
Barb Raveling says
Hi Maryse, I just wanted to let you know I modified my last reply a bit – I wasn’t sure if you would get a notification. Also, if you’re able to visit through What’sApp or any other app and think that would be helpful, I’d love to visit. I’m not sure if you still have cell service and electricity to charge phones. I’ll try to check back here to see if you reply or you could also email me. I’m free the rest of the day if you get this and have time to visit or we could set another time. Praying for you and your family and country today.
Mary campbell says
I prayed this with you Barb
Barb Raveling says
Thank you, Mary!
Thanks so much. A bit of unrest in our home with regard to the Covid vaccine. Praying for a peaceful home again.
Barb Raveling says
Oh Tonya, I know how hard that is. There is so much turmoil all over with both Covid, vaccines, and also politics. I pray the Lord brings peace – and peace for you personally in the midst of the unrest. I will pray that He brings unity.
Thank you so much Barb for this study. It really lifted up my spirits and helped me refocus my hope on the only one that can help me through any challenge I face in life including this lifelong illness I face each day. I’m thankful to be reminded that my joy and happiness do not depend on my circumstance but in knowing that I am saved! I have comfort in knowing that God is always with me every step of the way and he knows my situation. Surrendering to his sovereignty gives me so much peace and joy.
Thank you again for this study!
Barb Raveling says
I’m so glad the study was helpful, Veronica. I can’t imagine how many “opportunities” for growth you’ve had in struggling with a lifelong illness. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through the pain and suffering part of that. I love how you said that surrendering to God’s sovereignty gives you hope and joy. It seems strange to me but so often accepting that the things I fear may actually happen always gives me relief. It seems like it’s the thing I need to do to shift my hope to God rather than in getting what I want. I pray that God will continue to give you hope as you walk through life with your challenges.