Finding Freedom in Our Difficulties

Finding Freedom in Our Difficulties

How do we maintain hope during desperate circumstances?


During three years as a political prisoner in the Soviet Union's notorious gulag, Irina Ratushinskaya discovered an inner freedom that many people never experience outside of prison walls. From maintaining hope in the face of hopelessness to determining not to hate her captors, Irina discovered the power of God in response to the prayers of people she didn't even know. Her story speaks to all of us in our personal prisons of circumstances that threaten despair.

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 19:1–6, 42:1–6; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 42:6–7, 58:6–12; Matthew 8:5–13, 25:34–45; John 8:36; Acts 8:26–36,10:1–7, 16:22–34, 23:1–11, 27:21–25; Romans 1:19–20, 7:14–25; 2 Corinthians 12:7–10; Galatians 3:21–25; Ephesians 6:19–20; Colossians 4:3–4; 2 Timothy 4:9–13, 16–21; Hebrews 13:3


• The Issue

Sample questions:

What incidents in Irina's childhood fueled her desire to seek God?

What historical or biblical figures come to mind as having accomplished significant things during a time of imprisonment?

• The Scriptures

Sample Scriptures:

What types of personal prisons are described in: Psalm 42:1–6, Romans 7:14–25, 2 Corinthians 12:7–10, Galatians 3:21–25

What are we commanded to do for people who are oppressed or imprisoned? (Isaiah 42:6–7, Isaiah 58:6–12, Matthew 25:34–45, Hebrews 13:3)

• The Application

Sample application questions:

How has today's lesson encouraged you to pray for others who are experiencing personal difficulties?

Briefly describe a time in your life when you sensed the prayers of others in an unusual way.

• Recommended Resources


In Solitary Cells on Winter Nights, by Ellen Santilli Vaughn (December 1989, 11 printed pages)

Total number of pages

  • Word Document
  • SMG-CLBS13-D