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Job 19:25; James 5:10-11; Ruth 1; Esther 2; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; Philippians 4:11-13

Memory Text: Psalm 46:1-3:

[1] God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. [2] Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, [3] though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

Examples of those who endured trial and tragedy but maintained hope.

  • Job
  • Joseph
  • Naomi
  • Esther

Several Bible texts suggest that bad experiences produce good results. (E.g. Romans 5:3 tribulation produces patience, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 God comforts us in our trials so we can comfort others, 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 Paul reinterprets challenges as way to learn to trust in God, 2 Timothy 1:11-12 Paul not ashamed to suffer since he knows in whom he believes)

  • Is bad necessary for good to be discovered and experienced?

Being content with our circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12)

  • Does this approach not risk complacency?
  • How does one balance passivity and discontent?

Questions about stress and our how to cope with it.

  • Do reminders of hope actually deny the experience of those who are suffering?
  • What of situations that are, in fact, unchangeable and thus hopeless?
  • How can we balance bearing another’s burdens with pointing them to the eternal future?
  • How can we remain engaged in the present yet attached to eternity?
  • Does hope for eternity disengage us from the present?
  • Do individuals differ in their capacity to endure stress and hardship?

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