Introduction: In the recent lessons I challenged the idea
that God brings suffering to us to improve our character. We
may come to a Bible story that proves me wrong, but we have
not found one so far. What we have seen is that Satan brings
suffering to try to separate us from God. Is Satan’s goal
simply to have us believe God is a myth? Does he want us
to distrust God? Could his goal be to have us adopt the
wrong view of God? A view that God does evil things, rather
than loving things? Let’s study more Bible stories about
suffering to sharpen our view of God!

I. Hosea

A. Read Hosea 1:2. What remarkable thing does God ask
of Hosea? (To marry a sexually immoral woman.)

1. What kind of children will they have? (This
wife will continue in sexual immorality and
have children fathered by other men.)

2. Is God refining Hosea’s character? Is Hosea
going to improve because of this? (No. The
point is to show that Israel is unfaithful to

3. Who is supposed to learn something from
Hosea’s suffering? (The people of Israel.)

a. Is this a common explanation for
suffering? (Yes. We saw that Job suffered
because he was proving to the universe
his faithfulness to God. In 1 Corinthians
4:9 we saw that same thing for the
disciples that suffered.)

B. Read Hosea 2:1. We understand what God is doing,
he is creating a living illustration for His
people. What does this verse illustrate? (It is
foundational for us to have a positive
relationship among believers.)

C. Read Hosea 2:2. Once we have a solid relationship
with each other, what is the next step to
reforming the church? (To plead with the
leadership to be faithful to God.)

D. Read Hosea 2:3. What is the follow-on message
after pleading for faithfulness? (That if the
leadership does not turn to God, He will send bad

1. Is this the text that I’ve been missing? The
text that proves that God sends suffering to
refine us?

a. If you were an Israelite reading Hosea’s
message, what would the language “make
her like a wilderness” trigger in your
mind? (The forty years in the wilderness
for refusing to enter into Canaan.)

(1) Was that a refining experience?
(That was a punishment. They died in
the wilderness.)

E. Read Hosea 2:4. What happens to us as the result
of the unfaithfulness of our leaders? (We suffer.)

1. Is that fair? (Any mature person understands
that a major cause of suffering is the
mistakes and sins of others.)

F. Read Hosea 2:5. What wrong attitude of the
leadership is shown here? (They attribute their
blessings to idols. They look to the world for
its approval because they believe it helps the

1. Is this an issue in your church? Does it make
public statements that seem to invite the
world to look positively on it? But, fails to
make public statements about God’s values?

G. Read Hosea 2:6. Does this describe suffering? (A
hedge of thorns sounds like it is painful.)

1. What is God’s purpose here? Is it refinement?
(God’s purpose is to prevent the sin. The path
to sin is blocked.)

a. Have you experienced a situation like
this – you were inclined toward sin and
God threw obstacles in your path?

b. Can you see the love of God in this?

H. Read Hosea 2:7. Does this show refinement of
character? (No. In frustration she comes to her
senses and does the right thing.)

I. Read Hosea 2:8. What attitude does God want from
us? (Gratitude. This woman took the blessings God
and attributed them to idols. She then took the
blessings that God had given and used them to
promote idol worship.)

J. Read Hosea 2:9-11. God explains how He will punish
this unfaithful woman. Read Hosea 2:13. Is this
refinement? What about the statement about the
woman forgetting God? (God is getting her
attention. This might lead to refinement, but
right now this is simply punishment.)

K. Read Hosea 2:14-15. What is God’s “end game?” How
does God want this to end? (God wants to “allure
her.” He wants to bring her to Him. This shows a
God of love.)

1. What did we start out saying was the purpose
for this tragic situation with Hosea’s wife?
(It was to be an illustration to God’s

a. What have you learned from this?

II. Comfort

A. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. How does this describe
God? (The “Father of mercies and God of all

1. Does that sound like someone who would bring

2. What is one benefit of suffering? (Verse 4
tells us that God comforts us in our suffering
and that gives us skills to comfort others
when they suffer.)

B. Read 2 Corinthians 1:5. What is meant by the
phrase “Christ’s sufferings?” Does it mean the
sufferings brought to us by Jesus? (No. It means
that Jesus suffered and we can expect to suffer.)

1. What caused Jesus to suffer? (Satan.)

2. Is Satan omnipresent? Can he attack everyone,
everywhere at the same time? (Satan is not
like the Holy Spirit. While I’m sure Satan
focused his attack on Jesus and then on the
disciples, our sufferings are due to the more
general problem of sin in the world.)

3. What is the comfort that we share “through
Christ?” (Jesus’ sufferings result in the
offer of eternal life for those who accept

C. Read 2 Corinthians 1:6-7. Is learning how to
comfort others a “refinement” in our character?
(If it is not a refinement, it certainly is a life

1. As you contemplate what Paul is writing in 2
Corinthians, what do you think is his goal?
(He is putting a positive spin on suffering.
He wants us to have a grateful attitude, even
when we are suffering.)

D. Read Isaiah 43:1. Whose side is God on when we
suffer? (He is on our side. We are His.)

E. Read Isaiah 43:2. Will suffering overwhelm us?

1. Think about what we recently studied in this
series about walking through the Red Sea. Does
God literally fulfill this promise?

2. What about the martyrs in history who were
burned at the stake?

F. Read Isaiah 43:19. God says that He is making
something new. When will that take place?

G. Read Hebrews 11:36-38. Is this a picture of
terrible suffering?

H. Read Hebrews 11:39-40. This tells us that those
who suffered terribly did not “receive what was
promised.” When will the promise be fulfilled? (In
heaven! We have seen in our series so far that God
regularly intervenes to stop the suffering of His
people. But Hebrews 11 explains that sometimes
this promise is only completely fulfilled in

1. Does this seem unrealistic to you? If so,
consider the amount of time you are living
this life compared to eternity on the earth
made new.

I. Friend, our view of God must not be changed for
the worst by suffering. We can depend on Him to
make things right, if not now, then when we are
taken to heaven. Will you place your faith in God?

III. Next week: Struggling With All Energy.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.