Anywhere nice and cushy and problem-free.
Give me a chair by the water and an icy frappe with a little umbrella in it, and I’d be happy as a clam. Forget about all those problems.
I hate to say it – because I like the picture that’s forming in my mind – but that’s probably never going to happen. Because if I lived in one of those places, I’d bring my problems along with me.
Life will never be perfect. But God, in His wisdom, grace, and love, has provided a way to redeem those hard times in our lives: He uses them to help us grow. Here’s a Bible study that will help you look at your trial in a way that will help you grow.
This Bible study post was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2020.
When Life is Hard: A Bible Study on Trials
1. What’s your current trial, and how is it affecting you?
2. Read Hebrews 12:1-15 and record everything it says about how God wants you to handle this trial and what He’s hoping you’ll get out of it. (Note: Try to make this personal. For example, in verse 1, what does He want you to lay aside?)
3. How are you currently handling this trial?
4. What will happen if you keep doing what you’ve been doing with this trial?
5. What do you need to change to handle your trial the way God wants you to handle it?
6. Read James 1:2-4 and Romans 5:3-5. What do you think God wants to teach you through this trial that you’re going through? Be specific.
7. When you think of all God could do in your life through this trial, can you see why the trial could be a good thing in your life?
8. What will you need to do if you want to accomplish God’s goals for your trial? (Matthew 26:36-36, Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 12:11)
Group Discussion Questions
1. What’s the typical attitude toward trials in America?
2. Is the attitude any different in the church? Explain.
3. Why do you suppose we don’t “count it all joy” when we encounter trials like James tells us to do in James 1:2-4?
4. The Greek word for temptation (perasmos) is often translated trial. (That’s the word you’ll find in James 1:2.) Is temptation also an opportunity for growth? If so, how could temptation help you to grow closer to God and more like Him?
5. Would you have as many trials if you didn’t have free will? Why or why not?
6. Do you think it was hard for God to give us free will? Why or why not?
7. How does the fact that God uses trials to help us grow point to God’s love for us and His overall brilliance?
Note: I have recently published a new Bible study on growing through trials called Rally. Click here if you’re interested in that study.