The Gospel in Hard Times

Joni and Friends
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The Gospel in Hard Times, by Joni and Friends, is a faith-bolstering small group resource that illustrates how suffering is a catalyst that can deepen our understanding of God's plan.

Through eight in-depth sessions, This resource points to Jesus, our Good Shepherd, for answers to today's hard questions.

This study guide includes leader's notes, real-life stories for discussion, biblical application, suggested video clips, and action plans to demonstrate how Jesus identifies with our sorrow. This study guide invites readers to see that how we choose to react and manage hardship has life-altering potential.

In this small group resource, men and women can learn how the church carries the burden of suffering, seeking gospel answers to questions such as, "Why am I going through this?" and "Where is God when I need him?"

The Gospel in Hard Times explores how a loving faith communityÑone body with many partsÑcan not only meet our needs but also help us walk alongside others who are afflicted, disabled, and marginalized.


Joni and Friends is an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Founded in 1979, their mission is to communicate the gospel and equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. The organization authors numerous books including titles such as the Beyond Suffering Bible, Real Families, Real Needs, and a series of church resources entitled The Irresistible Church.

Pat Verbal, MA, former senior manager of publishing and resources at Joni and Friends, draws from her many years of experience as a director of Christian education and school administrator. She served as managing editor/contributor for the Beyond Suffering Bible, and her other writings include Life in the Balance, Special Needs Ministry for Children, and Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry.

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"The Gospel in Hard Times will absolutely give faith, courage, and endurance through any thorns we may face. You do not have to be in a wheelchair to have a disabled heart. Joni Eareckson Tada is the epitome of living! When one soul, who may have a 'disabled' body, puts GO in front of the word disable, it spells GOD IS ABLE. Hard times will always be there, but so will God!"
Nick Vujicic, Evangelist; founder of Life Without Limbs

"With captivating true stories and practical applications, The Gospel in Hard Times facilitates small group discussions that take you quickly to a place of depth. If you're hurting and looking for answers as to why God would allow you to experience such suffering, this book will be a wise companion on your journey toward healing."
Drew Hill, Pastor; award-winning author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel

"We will all suffer in this broken world. We don't get to opt out of that. But we do get to choose whether we suffer in a redemptive way or a destructive way. I love this study guide because it shows us how to suffer in a redemptive way, just like Joni does. The Gospel in Hard Times takes us into studying the Scriptures directly, where our roots most need to grow deeper in hard times."
David Lyons, International Vice President of The Navigators; author of Don't Waste the Pain: Learning to Grow Through Suffering

"People who are suffering and those who want to help them will find The Gospel in Hard Times to be a timely resource! This inspiring study illustrates how the power of God's Word leads to hope. The sweetness of Christ's presence as a fellow sufferer and the comfort of his people are wonderfully illustrated. People are encouraged to raise hard questions in safe communities that provide purpose, care, and dignity."
Dr. A. Charles Ware, President Emeritus, Crossroads Bible College; founder/CEO, The Grace Relations Network

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  • 4
    Serious Bible study on suffering

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 09 19 2019

    This is not a light and fluffy group Bible study. Exploring suffering is serious business and hits home to so many. It is not a theoretical Bible study either. There are videos available for each lesson that have testimonies by real people who have suffered real tragedy. (Links to the videos are in the text.) This is the kind of Bible study to be shared in a group of trusted friends as I think there will be times of deep ministry. The format of each study includes a story to be read before the group meeting and then reflection questions. Next is a Bible lesson with discussion questions for the group session. The opportunity to watch the video follows with more discussion questions. Then there are suggestions for prayer and a final action plan, an activity to deepen the impact of the lesson. There is also a good section for leaders at the back of the book. I found these lessons to be really thought provoking. The discussion questions made me think about how my relationship with God has been during hard times. I really appreciate the insights included in the lessons. For example, one lesson mentioned that emotions are like pain receptors are for the body. They alert us when something is wrong. Teaching was included as to understanding what is indicated and how to make it through. There are also good insights into how Jesus is our example in suffering and how God uses suffering. This study does not pull back from the hard to understand realities of tragedy, even tragedies that happen to committed Christians. It does not gloss over the hard questions, like why God heals some and not others. It also draws attention to the need for churches to welcome and minister to those with severe needs. At the core of the study is Joni Eareckson Tada. A quadriplegic for over fifty years, suffering from chronic pain and a bout of breast cancer, she knows how God uses suffering. Her story is included in the lesson seven. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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