To help class members develop strength to face adversity by trusting the Lord, building their testimonies of him, and maintaining personal integrity.
Prayerfully study the following scriptures (you may also want to study the chapter headings in the book of Job to give an overview of the story):
Job 1–2. Job, a just and faithful man, experiences severe trials. He remains faithful to the Lord despite losing his possessions, children, and health.
Job 27:2–6. Job finds strength in his personal righteousness and integrity.
Job 42:10–17. After Job has faithfully endured his trials, the Lord blesses him.
Additional reading: Other chapters in Job; Doctrine and Covenants 121:1–10.
Suggested Lesson Development
You may want to use the following activity (or one of your own) to begin the lesson.
Share the following analogy with class members (or ask a class member to prepare to share it):
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once told of farmers in the hot desert of northwest Mexico who “grow varieties of corn and beans that are unusually hardy and drought resistant. These varieties survive and flourish in a harsh climate where other plants would wither and die. One of these plants is the white tepary bean. Its seed will sprout and the plant will grow even when very little rain falls. It sends its roots as deep as six feet into the rocky, sandy earth to find the moisture it needs. It can flower and fruit in the 115-degree (Fahrenheit) desert temperatures with only one yearly rainfall. Its foliage remains remarkably green, with little irrigation, even in the heat of mid-July.”
What can we learn from this analogy that can help us endure adversity?
Elder Wirthlin suggested: “Perhaps members of the Church could emulate the example of these hardy, sturdy plants. We should send our roots deep into the soil of the gospel. We should grow, flourish, flower, and bear good fruit in abundance despite the evil, temptation, or criticism we might encounter. We should learn to thrive in the heat of adversity” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 7; or Ensign, May 1989, 7).
Explain that this lesson is about Job, a man whose faith and righteousness helped him endure severe adversity.
Scripture Discussion and Application
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. Job is sorely tested.
Teach and discuss Job 1–2.
What kind of man was Job? You may want to list some of the following characteristics on the chalkboard. Many of the corresponding references are not in the reading assignment, so you may want to ask individual class members to look them up and tell what characteristic is described.
He was a good man who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).
He was wealthy but not caught up in wealth (Job 1:3, 21).
He had integrity (Job 2:3).
He strengthened the weak (Job 4:3–4).
He walked in the Lord’s paths and esteemed the Lord’s words (Job 23:10–12).
He was compassionate to the widow, the poor, the lame, and the blind (Job 29:12–16).
He was concerned for his enemies and forgave them (Job 31:29–30).
What trials did Job experience? You may want to list some of these trials on the chalkboard. Many of the corresponding references are not in the reading assignment, so you may want to ask individual class members to look them up and tell what trial is described.
Loss of servants, property, and income (Job 1:13–17).
Loss of children (Job 1:18–19).
Restless sleep filled with nightmares (Job 7:4, 13–14).
Confusion about why he was asked to go through these trials (Job 10:15).
How do Job’s trials compare with the trials people experience in our day? (The trials are similar: loss of property, loss of children, loss of health, and loss of the love and companionship of friends and family.)
What did Satan claim was the reason for Job’s righteousness? (See Job 1:9–10.) How did Satan predict Job would react when his wealth and other blessings were taken away? (See Job 1:11; 2:4–5.) How did Job react when this happened? (See Job 1:20–22; 2:10.) What can we learn from these reactions?
Despite his adversity, Job “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). How do some people charge God foolishly when sorrow, misfortune, or tragedy strike? (They may blame God or question his wisdom or providence, feeling that he does not understand or love them. Some may even question his existence.)
2. Job finds strength in the Lord.
Job’s trust in the Lord was a great source of spiritual strength for him (Job 13:13–16). What does it mean to trust in the Lord? How can we develop trust in the Lord that will sustain us through trials? (See Romans 8:28; 2 Nephi 2:2, 11, 24; D&C 58:2–4; 122:5–9.) Testify that because the Lord loves us, he has assured us that as we are faithful, all things will be for our good and help us grow.
In Job 19, Job described the trials that had befallen him, then testified of the Savior. How did Job’s testimony of the Savior help him endure his trials? (See Job 19:25–27.) How can a testimony of the Savior give us strength during adversity?
You may want to have class members sing
“I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136), or you could play a recording of this hymn.
3. Job finds strength in his personal righteousness and integrity.
Teach and discuss Job 27:2–6.
Job’s integrity was another source of spiritual strength during his afflictions (Job 27:2–6). What is integrity? How did personal integrity strengthen Job during his trials? How can personal integrity help us during times of trial? (As we maintain our integrity, we can gain strength from knowing that the course of our lives is pleasing to the Lord.)
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin defined integrity as “always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more important, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 38; or Ensign, May 1990, 30).
4. After Job has faithfully endured his trials, the Lord blesses him.
Teach and discuss Job 42:10–17.
After Job had faithfully endured his trials, how did the Lord bless him? (See Job 42:10–15; James 5:11.) How does the Lord bless us as we faithfully endure trials? (See Job 23:10; 3 Nephi 15:9. Encourage class members to share personal experiences. You may want to point out that although the Lord blessed Job with “twice as much as he had before,” the spiritual blessings the Lord gives us as we faithfully endure are even greater than the temporal blessings.)
Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 98).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 304).
Summarize your discussion of the book of Job, emphasizing that we can receive strength to endure our trials by trusting in the Lord, building our testimonies of him, and maintaining our integrity so we can know our lives are pleasing to him. You might want to tell class members about a time when you received strength during adversity. Suggest that class members contemplate how they can apply the principles discussed in this lesson to help them endure adversity.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. Job’s friends
How did Eliphaz and Bildad, two of Job’s friends, explain his suffering? (See Job 4:7–8; 8:6. They thought Job’s suffering was a punishment from God for sins that Job had committed.) What are the dangers of believing that all suffering comes as God’s punishment for our sins?
What can the errors of Job’s friends teach us about helping people who suffer adversity?
2. Questions to ask during adversity
Elder Richard G. Scott said: “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
3. Keeping perspective during adversity
President Spencer W. Kimball said:
“If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.
“… Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith” (Faith Precedes the Miracle , 97).
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