Trials are Temporary {Abounding Hope :: Week 8}

By March 18, 2013Book Clubs, God Time

Bible study on hope

by Heather MacFadyen

Trials will come. You know it. I know it.

Perhaps you’ve had your own “Job-like” season recently. Kids continually sick, your husband’s work more demanding, a cancer diagnosis, or a strained friendship.

My entire 2012 felt very “Job-like”…house robbery, broken foot, isolation from friends due to the birth of a 4th child, husband’s demanding work schedule. But you know what? 2013 has been a different story. Hope has been restored. Joy and life have returned to our home.

What last week’s lesson on Job reminded me is trials are temporary. Goodness can be restored. Job lost all his children and yet at the end of the book we read he lived to meet his 4th generation…his great, great grandchildren. That’s hope, y’all.

Meet Joseph

This week we close the book of Job and open up the Old Testament story of Joseph.

A brief (& simplified) review of Joseph’s family tree may be helpful in order to understand the context of his story:

Joseph’s great grandpa is Abraham, a man God promised to give as many sons as the stars in the sky and a land flowing with milk & honey (the chosen people & the promised land). Abraham had Isaac, the long-awaited son. Then Isaac had twin boys: Esau and Jacob. Jacob tricked his father into receiving his brother’s blessing.

Fleeing his brother’s wrath, Jacob lives with his uncle Laban. On his way, he falls in love with Rachel. After working 7 years to “win” her, he is tricked by Laban (the tricker is tricked). He ends up marrying Leah, Rachel’s older sister. After a week Laban lets Jacob marry Rachel, but then works another 7 years for his deceptive uncle.

Living in the land of Canaan (the promised land), Jacob had a few wives & a few maidservants…and several sons (the 12 tribes of Israel). But Rachel, his preferred bride, struggled to have a child. When she finally had a son, she named him Joseph. As you can imagine, Joseph became Jacob’s preferred son.

This week we will read Joseph’s story and realize one can hit rock bottom . . . a couple times. For Joseph “rock bottom” included the bottom of a well and a prison cell. Just like with Job, Joseph didn’t necessarily sin to deserve his consequences.

And yet from Joseph’s story comes hope.

Our place in the depths is not out of the bounds of God. We see that whatever or whoever got us in trouble cannot separate us from God, for ‘there is forgiveness with thee.’ We are persuaded that God’s way with us is redemption and that the redemption, not the suffering, is ultimate. — Eugene Peterson

God will not leave us in the bottom of a well. He will pull us up for His glory.

Bible study on hope

As we study this week, let’s pay attention to the following:

  • The relationship between Joseph and his father
  • The humility, maturity, and wisdom Joseph gains from his challenges
  • God’s presence during these trials
  • How others notice God’s presence with Joseph

What is one thing you want to act on as a result of our study through Job? What are you looking forward to in our study of Joseph?


Abounding Hope ebookAnyone is welcome to join in this 13 week study of hope! Just grab your copy of Abounding Hope (available as a PDF download or on Kindle) and join us back here on the blog every Monday! VIew the rest of the Abounding Hope series here.


  • Katie says:

    Heather, thank you for this! The hope that trials are temporary takes me back to 1 Peter, where we learned that they are “necessary” but only “for a little while”. I cling to that when things get tough. And we learned a few weeks ago that when Job suffered, it deepened his relationship with God (“now I have seen You with my eyes”). Promises of hope for sure.

  • Honey says:

    Trials are temporary. I needed to hear that. My prodigal daughter who has been homeless for the last 8 months, 1600 miles from home, called me two weeks ago and asked if she could come home. I sent her a bus ticket, and we waited for our daughter to come home. 24 hours after her arrival, I had to ask her to leave our home. She came in at 3:00 in the morning, drunk, and with a man. She woke everyone up, and tried to get us to fight with her. She left, but went down the road and called the police to report that we had beat her up. When the police found where she was, she had a busted lip. We don’t know what happened after she left our home, but she tried to have my husband and I arrested. She is 24. She has been to the majistrate to try to get a warrent, but so far she has not been successful. Who ever thinks something like this will go on in their life, with their own daughter? She was raised in the church, and knows the bible. So sad. I gave her a bus ticket to leave town, but I don’t think she got on the bus. I think she wants money from us. I struggle with thinking things will always be this way, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I need to remember that trials are temporary. Thanks.

    • Katie says:

      Oh Honey, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. The pain must be so deep. Praying that He will be close to your daughter. That He will protect her, and that her heart will soften enough to feel the tug of His Spirit. Praying for Him to comfort you and give you hope. He is able.

      • Lara says:

        Honey, I can’t imagine that pain from the parent’s side. (except what my own mom has expressed to me over the years.) I was never homeless but I definitely lived years as the prodigal — spared only by the grace and mercy of God. We serve a God who does radically redeeming things. I know it must be so discouraging at times but I pray this morning that God would minister hope to your spirit today. Hope in the fact that He sees you and your husband and your daughter and He hears your prayers. He isn’t distant. He’s very very close. I don’t understand why He allows what He does at times, but I can personally testify that He has absolutely used my prodigal years in my ministry now. He can restore even the most broken of things.

        • Honey says:

          Thank you Katie and Lara for you comments and prayers. They mean so much. I struggle with feeling I should be able to reach her, but I know in reality that is not the case. She called DHR this week to make a report on us because we have a minor child living in our home. Thankfully that went nowhere. I was told by a law officer yesterday that our daughter is evil, and sadly I know that is true right now. Lara, It is comforting to know your story and how far you have come. I said this week that I am not broken hearted or disallusioned over this. The Lord can work miracles. I just know that I can’t be with her now. I said that it will be a long time before I can be around her, like maybe years from now, when she is a missionary or something. My husband is not a Chrisitan, so I am so sad that he sees this behavior from someone who has accepted our Lord, and lived for Him in the past. My daughter now quotes scripture like Satin himself. It is frightening, who she has turned into. It is the drugs and the never ending alcohol, I know. Thank you for your comments, encouragement, and concerns. We really can’t discuss this with people we know at the moment, because of the legalities still at play. Thank you so much. This is not the life I imagined, but it is the life I have, and I have to live it. I have a 4 year old to raise!

  • It’s been a “bottom of the well” kind of weekend. Praying the week ahead yields God’s grace, truth, beauty. Thanks for sharing your heart, Heather, in this post!

    • Oh sister! Let’s pray together: Lord, I lift Jessica to you. She knows You never leave her. You will give her a hand up out of the well. You will make all things right…if not this week, we have hope one day all things will be made right. Amen.

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