Trusting in God
Theme: Trusting in God
Approximate Time: 20 – 30 mins
For some of us, our first week operating under the government guidance to stay indoors may have been a welcome rest and change. Others of us might have really struggled and for some of you it has probably been somewhere in between. It can be hard listening to the news every day and watching the death toll from corona virus rise. There is a lot of uncertainty around – what will happen if I catch the virus? How long will I have to stay indoors? When will life return to normal? It can be hard to remember that God, our loving father, is in control. This session will help us to explore how we can learn to have faith, not in things that won’t help us, but in the loving, powerful God who always hears and answers our prayers.
Icebreaker: Trust Falls
Safety: Please only attempt to do this with someone who you know is strong enough to catch you. Please make sure that any space you are using is clear and remove any objects that may be harmful
In pairs: Ask a partner to stand behind you and then, when you are both ready, lean back and ask them to catch you. Start with just a short distance between you and then, if you are successful and as you grow in confidence, consider increasing the distance to encourage a greater level of trust.
Discuss: How did it feel? Was it easy to trust that they would catch you?
Pause for thought: (Or you can do this in pairs or as a discussion)
Think about the week you have just had.
1. Overall, have you found the week easy or hard?
2. How have you found yourself passing the time?
3. Which of the following words best describes how you are feeling about the corona virus?
Relaxed Anxious Not bothered Scared Ready to embrace the challenge
Think about the following statements which describe ways that you might approach this period of lockdown. Which, if any, best describe how you’re planning to spend the next few weeks. If none of them apply, fee free to create your own statement;
1. As long as I’ve got my phone I’ll be fine
2. Get a load of snacks in and I’ll eat my weight in biscuits, crisps and chocolate
3. I’m not going anywhere because I’m scared I might catch the virus
4. I’m planning to spend as much time on my X Box as possible
5. I’m going to do as much exercise as I possibly can; running, cycling, gym, etc
6. I’m planning to spend more time with God; reading the bible, prayer, etc
7. I’m going to use every social networking avenue possible to stay in touch with all my friends
8. I’ll probably just watch loads of Netflix
9. I don’t know how I’m going to cope, I’m already going crazy
10. I’m going to knuckle down and work as hard as I can to get ahead with my learning
Thought: How we spend our time, especially in a situation like this can say a great deal about what we put our faith in. For some of us, it will be social media, for others, it’s exercise or consoles. Ultimately God asks us to put our faith in him ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Read the two passages.
1. What images does it use to describe the Lord in Psalm 23?
2. What does it say the Lord does for us?
3. Why do we fear no evil even in the darkest valley?
4. How does the image of a shepherd help us to understand how God looks after us?
5. What are the differences between the two men in Matthew 7?
6. Why do you think both men experience a storm?
7. Why were the crowds amazed at Jesus?
8. How does this encourage us to trust him?
Especially in times of extreme need or difficulty it is vital that we put our trust in the right things to be able to offer us comfort or help. If I was to jump out an aeroplane and could take either a parachute or an umbrella, it’s of vital importance that I choose the one which will save me. I might prefer the umbrella and might even have great faith in its powers but ultimately, it won’t actually help me. Whereas, even if I don’t have great faith in the parachute, that’s what will save me. One of these choices would lead to life, the other to certain death.
It’s the same with this time of lockdown. My temptation might be to gravitate to the things I feel more secure doing; watching loads of telly, eating loads of chocolate, connecting with lots of people on social media, etc because they might feel like the things that will get me through. But it’s the time with God; the prayer, the bible reading and the time spent in reflection that are going to prepare me best to overcome this challenging time. Why? Because God gives us the power and strength to make wise choices, to be patient and loving with our families and to find purposeful ways to spend our time.
Ultimately, like the parachute, it’s Jesus that saves us. By his death and resurrection, He has forgiven our sins and given us the power to overcome the habits that cut us off from God. Let’s use this time as an opportunity to try and understand how much the Father loves us and how we can show greater trust in Him.
Play the song ‘Way Maker’ by Leeland
Spend some time praying for the following;
· Those closest to you; your family, friends, etc
· Those that give guidance and support; teachers, doctors, NHS Staff, pastors, counsellors, etc
· Those that are leading our country in this time of crisis; the government, scientific and medical advisors, etc
· The weak and vulnerable; the elderly, those who have lost jobs, the poor, etc
Finally, pray for yourself that you can stay safe, use your time well and grow in relationship with God.