Think About It!
Suffering is part of life –– that’s a tough reality to embrace! But the crazy thing is, with Jesus, suffering is often the context for our hope…In suffering, we come face-to-face with what we really believe in our hearts about who God is. Few stories depict this reality more beautifully than the story of Job. Even in the midst of tremendous suffering, Job walked in unstoppable hope –– something we can all learn from, with equally beautiful results in our lives.
Talk About It!
1. There are many types of suffering.
- Hard days help us grow. Do we usually grow on the hard days, or after they are over? When we grow, we don’t realize we’re growing. This is true as we get taller, but it’s also true in our hearts. We grow a lot when we’re having a hard day, and sometimes we don’t see because we just want the hard day to be over. It’s important to ask God how he wants us to grow on the hard days.
- Are there some hard things going on in your life right now? We’re learning about a man named Job. Job was a man who was blessed. He was wealthy, had a big family, and was very close to God. Satan believed that if Job suffered, he wouldn’t be close to God anymore, so he tested Job, and Job lost everything.
- How are the hard days helping you grow? You might have noticed that the hard things you talked about are different than the hard things your parents or siblings are going through. This is because suffering is a little bit different for everyone. That’s because we’re all different, but it’s also because God is teaching us different lessons and helping us to grow in different ways.
2. Sometimes friends and family fail.
- Who are the people closest to you? One of the people closest to Job was his wife. Job’s wife was also suffering, and when she was suffering, she started to lose hope. She lost all her kids and possessions. Her husband was sick. Because she lost hope, she couldn’t share hope with her husband when he needed it most.
- Who has helped you on the hard days, and what did they do that helped? Job also had friends who tried to help, but they weren’t much help either. They told Job that bad things were happening because God was mad at him. Job didn’t listen to these friends, and he kept holding onto hope.
- How has God helped you on the hard days? Sometimes when we are suffering, the people around us don’t give us much hope. That’s why we need to go to God. He’s the only one who can fill our hope up so that we can get through the hard days.
3. Let hope rise under pressure.
- Hey parents! For this next part, you can use a fun visual aid with your kids. Fill a paper cup or a plastic bag with water slowly over the sink as you talk about how God fills us with hope. The Lord fills us up like an empty cup. Whenever we go to him, the level of our hope rises.
- Using a pin or ballpoint pen, poke small holes in the cup or bag, and make sure they’re not too big.
- The water will start to leak into the sink. When we have hard days, we start to lose our hope. The world is broken and sometimes, it tries to poke holes in our hope. When this happens, what should we do?
- Ask you kids how to keep the container full of water. If they say that you should patch the holes, ask them how and let them try. When the patches don’t work, hold the container under the faucet and let it fill up, even though it’s leaking. When it comes to hope, sometimes, we can’t fix the holes or the brokenness in the world. We might try to fix all of our leaks, but the truth is, there is only one way to hold onto hope. We need to go back to God, the source of our hope, and let him fill us up.
4. You can trust God even when He doesn’t explain Himself.
- What are some of the questions you’re asking God right now? When no one else was able to help Job find hope, he asked God questions. This is a great way to spend time with God when we feel like we’re running out of hope. When we talk to him, we can be honest about our hard days.
- What answers is God giving you? Are they the answers you want? Sometimes, it’s frustrating, because God doesn’t always give us the answer we want. Sometimes, he doesn’t answer us right when we want him to, but he does answer.
- How can you trust God while you’re waiting on him to answer? Why should you trust him? When God’s answers confuse us, we need to be patient. God is doing something good behind the scenes that we can’t see yet. Those are the times when we need to allow God to be God and trust that he is at work.
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How does that make you feel?
- How would you explain this to someone who doesn’t know Jesus?
- Why do you think God did it that way?
- Why should we do the things that God tells us?