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where is God
when it hurts?
Pain and trials
This study explores the issue of trials and testing. One of the most fre-
quently asked questions by believers is where God is when they hurt. We
all go through tough timestimes of trials and testing. Its during those
times that our faith is forged by the fire. Through this study, students will
be equipped to face those times with hope and faith.
key verse
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and com-
plete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).
biblical basis
Romans 5:1-5; James 1:1-18; 5:10-11; 1 Peter 1:3-9
the big idea
Your circumstances may never change, but your attitude canand that
makes all the difference in the world.
aims of the study
Examine the issue of trials in the life of the believer.

Help students to discover how God uses trials to bring maturity into
their lives.

Help students implement an attitude of thankfulness, faith and trust

toward trials in their personal lives.
For the introduction, you will need a clip of an Olympic highlight. Find a
segment that shows either a track or distance-running event.
where is God
when it hurts?
Show the clip from the Olympic track or distance-running event, and then
discuss the following questions:
1. What makes these athletes some of the greatest in the world?
2. What would it take to win a gold medal at the Olympics?
3. What kind of training do you think they need to win?
Make the following observations as you lead in to the subject of pain
and trials in our lives:
Athletes have to train in order to win.
To win, athletes have to push past the pain and the trials, focusing
on the goals that they have set for themselves.
Athletes go through incredible pain, trials and sacrifices to attain
the prize they so desperately compete forto win and be the best.
All of us go through tough times and trials in our lives. No one is ex-
empt! However, our attitude will affect how we handle or react to tough
times in our lives.
We can respond by following one of the three Rs:
1. Running away: when we try to ignore tough times or go in the oppo-
site direction.
2. Running around: when we try to hide from our problems or attempt
to sidestep them altogether.
3. Running ahead: when we take our tough times head on and endure
with the proper attitude.
Lets look at three keys from James 1:1-18 on how we can respond with
a positive attitude toward trials.
in the word
Read James 1:1-18.
I. Key One: Choose to Have a Joyful Heart (James 1:2-4)
A. Trials will come into your life. Its not a matter of if but when
they will come.
B. However, James tells us that you can rejoice because:
1. Trials are opportunities for growth in faith and trust.
2. After the trial, you will be stronger for future battles.
3. Trials tell you that God is at work in your life. He uses
trials to strengthen and mature you.
C. Discuss the following:
1. Why does God allow people to go through trials and
tough times?
2. How does a persons relationship with God change as he
or she goes through trials and problems?
3. How can you choose to have a joyful heart?
4. What would you tell a friend who is going through a trial
right now?
II. Key Two: Come to God for Strength (James 1:5-8)
A. God will strengthen you when you ask.
B. You need to ask continually for:
1. Strength to continue under the trial
2. Wisdom not to miss opportunities within the trials
3. The perspective to see trials through His eyes
C. Discuss the following:
1. What effect does doubt have on a person when he or
she prays?
2. When do you find it hardest to pray?
3. What doubts have you struggled with concerning God
and prayer?
4. How can a person seek God for strength? Wisdom?
III. Key Three: Chase After the Crown (James 1:12)
A. The key to making it through trials is to look at the finish line,
the goal, the prize.
B. If you keep your eyes on the goal, you will make it through trials
with style.
C. Focus your eyes on Jesus Christ and what Hes doing in your life
through the trial.
D. Discuss the following:
1. What reward waits for the person who perseveres?
2. What is the goal that you should be focused on?
3. What takes your focus off the goal during trials?
4. How can you regain your focus in the midst of trials?
5. What is one trial you have faced during the past month?
6. How did you react during that trial? (Remember the three Rs.)
action steps
Ask the students what they as a group can do to help each other remain
focused on the goal? Conclude in prayer for one another and for the trials
the members are facing.