STUDY GUIDE FOR 8-5-18:
FAITH@HOME #6– WE MOVE THROUGH SUFFERING AND HARDSHIP
Think about life:
- What stories of suffering and hardship have your parents or great grandparents shared with you? What helped them make it through? Did they get stuck in bitterness or despair? What role did faith play in helping them to keep going?
- When people encounter significant suffering or hardship what are the different ways in which they can respond in terms of their attitude toward the situation and in terms of their attitude toward God?
- Have you been through suffering or hardship through which you learned important lessons that are valuable to you today?
Digging Deeper into Scripture:
- The Old Testament book of Ruth:
- The book of Ruth is the story of Naomi’s suffering and hardship. She and her husband were forced to move from Israel to Moab due to famine. Her husband died. Her sons married Moabite women, then they also died. The famine ends and Naomi decides to return her Israelite hometown of Bethlehem. One of her daughters-in-law accompany her.
- Read Ruth 1:6-13
- How did Naomi treat her daughters-in-law? Given all the loss that Naomi had endured, what would it have looked like if she had taken out her frustrations on her daughters-in-law?
- What helps us not to take out our frustrations on those around us?
- Read Ruth 1:14-18
- After the death of her husbands and sons, how do you think Naomi reacted to Ruth’s promise of absolute faithfulness no matter what?
- What is the sign of a faithful friend? Share stories of a faithful friend or your being a faithful friend.
- How would Ruth’s faithfulness help Naomi believe in the faithfulness of God?
- Read Ruth 1:19-22
- Note: “Naomi” means “pleasant”. “Mara” means “bitter”.
- When Naomi returns to her hometown does she pretend everything is fine or is she honest? What happens when we’re not honest about the hardship we’re facing? What happens when we are honest about our hardship?
- Read Ruth 4:13-17
- What do the women of the town praise God for? Note that in Ruth 1:21 Naomi said, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” What is the sign that Naomi was able to thank God for bringing her through hardship?
- Read Romans 8:28
- What does this Scripture promise that God will do? What is not promised? How have you seen this promise played out in your life?
Scripture readings: Ruth; James 1:2-4, 12-18; Job 1:1-10; Rev. 21:1-7