Q1: Ask each person to talk about a time of suffering (it could be happening right now). Don’t belabor it, give a 2–3 minute overview. If you give too many details it will take too long and you will not have time to get to the main point of this exercise.
Some guidelines to keep it simple:
-What form did the suffering take and how did it (does it) impact your life? (physical, spiritual, mental, relational pain (combination))
“I went through a time of terrible back pain that made me depressed and question God…”
“I suffer with anxiety and it impacts my physical health and my ability to relate to others…”
*Don’t make everyone talk but encourage it.
*Beware of ranking pain, “Yours is worse than mine, so I have nothing to say.”
Q2: Using Hebrews 12:1-3 develop a biblical strategy for approaching suffering. What are the core components from this passage? Keep this simple and someone write it out as you develop it as a group. You can use ideas from other biblical passages if you want.
Q3: What are some non-biblical or less than helpful ways people deal with suffering?
-Someone list these. Keep them in simple statements.
Reflection: Everyone take a few minutes to quietly reflect on their own patterns of dealing with suffering. Where has your strategy been in line with Scripture, where has it fallen short of biblical reality? What can you change?
Q4: Everyone share, briefly, a way they have done well, a way they need to do better. How the group can help them do better.
Pray: For your group, the Church, and the world that God would alleviate suffering and reveal himself in suffering.