Date: February 13, 2022
The Pitfall of Hard Times
The Point: Trust God to see you through any crisis.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
The Pew Research Center has conducted research, asking Americans questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some of their findings:
* 89% of Americans said there has been at least one negative change in their own lives related to the pandemic.
* 73% of Americans say that there has been at least one unexpected upside related to the pandemic.
* 67% of Americans say there has been at least one negative and at least one positive change related to the pandemic.
Here are some quotes about the pandemic, collected from people surveyed across the country:
* “Even for an introvert, there’s such a thing as too much isolation.”
* “Life has slowed down and brought family and friends closer.”
* “The destruction of our routines has been disorienting.”
* “I’m eating healthier because I’m eating out less.”
* “The isolation has been difficult. I’ve also gained weight and become very sedentary.”
* “I am a teacher, and have worked myself to the bone to deliver education remotely. It’s completely exhausting.”
* “I’m stuck in the house with my husband whom I’ve wanted to divorce for months.”
* “I lost a job, partially due to coronavirus, I lost eligibility for financial aid at my college due to withdrawing from classes last spring (despite assurances there would be no penalty), I’ve taken to drinking too much, which has thrown me into a sort of depressive cycle of not meeting obligations.”
* “I’ve been able to keep my job through this and save some money. My husband and I were able to purchase our first home and got married all in the same month!”
* “I’m sick of wearing a mask that doesn’t do anything. I’m sick of all the fake news and the U.S. media censoring of information.”
* “People without masks make me irritable. They are inconsiderate and self-centered. Avoiding them is a huge focus.”
Say: The Pew Research Center survey shows a wide range of thoughts about the Covid-19 pandemic. Then call attention to Question #1 (How did people deal with the COVID pandemic initially?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Study the Bible
Use the following information to introduce Question #5.
In a recent Baptist Press article about Christians in Nigeria, a woman named Manga described how difficult it is to be a Christian in her country. Manga witnessed her own father’s death – he was killed by members of Boko Haram, a violent Islamic group that operates in West African countries.
“Once you are Christian in Nigeria, your life is always at stake. Especially in the northeastern part of Nigeria, most dominant, most populated are the Muslims. The Christians are the minorities,” Manga explained. A decade has passed since her father was killed, and Manga says that today she is a stronger Christian who practices her faith despite increasing pressures. Open Doors, a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians around the world, describes Nigeria as being the deadliest country for Christians.
“After the attack, the way I practice, the way I worshiped changed. It gives me the resilience to practice (faith) more, to worship all the more,” Manga said. “We prayed the more. We seek the face of God the more. And the Holy Spirit is always there to encourage us.”
Say: The Nigerian Christian Manga has grown stronger in her faith, despite incredible pressure and hardship. Joseph learned to trust God even during the trials. Then call attention to Question #5 (What motivates you to remain fruitful even in times of famine?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Study the Bible [Option from Adult (p. 134) and KJV Adult (p. 140) Leader Guides]
In advance, play a song like “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns that illustrates “The Point.” Invite group members to use the time for reflection before concluding this session.
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
- What are some methods (could be good or bad) that people use to get through tough times?
- When have you experienced a sudden reversal of circumstances?
- What famous books or movies tell a “rags to riches” story? Why are people so attracted to those kinds of stories?
- What steps do you take in making an important decision?
- When have you been certain of God’s direction for a specific decision or season of life?
- What difference would it make if God always revealed to you what He was about to do?
- What are some things you know for certain about God’s plan for your life?
- What can Joseph’s example teach us about following God in times of abundance?
- What are some obstacles to sticking to God’s plan?
- What do you notice about Joseph’s attitude toward past suffering?
- What steps can we take to trust God through a crisis?
- What can set believers apart as we live through life’s highs and lows?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
When It’s Hard to See God at Work
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – Anxious Days Anxious Nights
Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
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