NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Job 1:6-12, 20-22; Job 9:14-16, 32-35, and 42:1-6
— When have you suffered, perhaps even to the point of leading you to doubt God’s presence in your life?
— What is your typical response to suffering in your life?
— What are some ways you can rest in God’s loving control in His timing in your life?
Food for Thought:
Read Job 1:1-22. We have all had difficult days, but few of us have had a day like Job’s in Job 1. First, word came that his oxen and donkeys were stolen and every servant watching them but one was killed. While that messenger was still reporting on the theft, another messenger arrived to tell Job that fire fell from heaven and consumed Job’s sheep and the servants watching them. Then while that second messenger was still speaking, yet another messenger arrived and reported that Job’s camels had been stolen and those servants killed. And then while that third messenger was still speaking, still another messenger arrived with the worst news of all — Job’s children were all killed when the house they were in collapsed from a powerful wind.
Job’s losses were staggering. He lost nearly all he had. But perhaps even more staggering was the pace of the news. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back. In a matter of minutes, Job’s world fell apart around him.
As we consider our own suffering and that of others, we need to remember that pain often comes not only from what we experience, but also from how and when we experience it. Sometimes what normally would not bring us to our knees still does, because of how it happens or when it happens. In these times, we need to fight to remember that God is sovereign not only over what we experience but also over how and when as well.
As we see when the story concludes many chapters later, God used Job’s suffering to draw him closer to Himself, not despite Job’s pain but through his pain. The same is true for us.
Jesus has told us that His people will be persecuted, endure hardship, and suffer for His name (Matthew 10:22). It is this very adversity that will draw us closer to Him as we identify with Him through our suffering (Colossians 1:24). There is beauty alongside the pain in our suffering for this reason: It brings us closer to our Savior.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject.