Joni and Friends Blog

The Gospel in Hard Times Resources

Unprecedented. Uncharted. Uncertain. Unforeseeable.

These words have all worked overtime this year, almost to the point of being cliché. No one quite knows what to do with a global pandemic that upends everyone’s life.

The truth is unavoidable: we’ve seen some hard times in 2020.

Here’s another unavoidable truth: the hard times we’ve experienced have not been confined to this year. Unlike COVID-19, hard times are not novel; they are not new. You know people whose lives have been upended by hardship. Perhaps you, too, have experienced the disorientation of unforeseen suffering. 

Like the psalmist, the questions you’ve asked seem to have no answers. 

“O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?

Why do you hide your face from me?”

Psalm 88:14

Are there answers? Is God still in control, working the hard things out for your good and his glory? Is there still Good News for you—and the people you love—in the midst of unprecedented hardship? 

Joni and Friends, together with New Growth Press, created The Gospel in Hard Times resources to equip you, your family, and your church to walk alongside individuals who are traversing the uncharted waters of suffering.

Whether you’re looking for ways to help your children build friendships with kids of all abilities, or you’re looking for help in teaching your congregation a robust theology of suffering, The Gospel in Hard Times resources can help. 

Through the picture book God Made Me Unique, help children learn gospel truths instead of misconceptions about a variety of special needs in a Sunday school setting.

For small groups, whether consisting of adults or youth, consider The Gospel in Hard Times Study Guide. In both the adult and student versions, each copy of the study guide includes leader’s notes and access to video clips featuring real-life testimonies that correspond to the lessons. While the entire study can be accomplished over the course of eight meetings, the study guide allows for flexibility if the individual members of the group can accomplish some independent work prior to meeting. This format might work especially well if you choose to take advantage of the drafted Sermon Notes to provide additional instruction each week. If getting each participant a copy of the study guide is logistically difficult right now, eBooks might be the solution.

Four subject-specific mini-books round out this collection of resources: For Better or Worse: When Disability Challenges Your MarriageMy Baby Has a Disability: Life-Giving Questions and AnswersA New Normal: Learning to Thrive in Suffering, and Is God Listening? What If He Doesn’t Answer?

While we all struggle with uncertainty during difficult seasons, like David wrote in Psalm 119:50:

“My comfort in my suffering is this: 

    Your promise preserves my life.” 

We can be certain of God’s promises. We can be certain the gospel is really and truly good news for us in hard times, no matter how unprecedented, uncharted, uncertain or unforeseeable they are.

The Gospel in Hard Times

Equipping believers with a biblical perspective on hardship, suffering and disability. From the pulpit to small groups and even in the children’s ministry, every area of the church will find help and hope in this collection of resources.