Date: November 28, 2021
Confidence in Times of Testing
The Point: Trust God even when your faith is tested.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
At the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Rusty Ford was a church planter and missionary with the International Mission Board in Seville, Spain. At that time, Spain was under lockdown for six weeks, with people instructed to remain in their homes except for trips to the hospital, pharmacy, or grocery store. But Ford found a way to minister to people’s needs, even during the lockdown. He began working in a nursing home that most people viewed as too dangerous to enter.
By April 2020, nearly 80 of the nursing home residents had been diagnosed with Covid. Eventually 24 of them would die from Covid complications. Ford applied to work as a volunteer at the nursing home and was granted access. He arrived each day to help clean and feed the residents. “Basically, whatever needed to be taken care of, I was there to do,” Ford said. The work was challenging. Ford returned home each day to wash his clothes and shower himself before having any contact with his wife and children. “I was getting chances to pray with people, because, people are talking now,” he said. “Everybody I was dealing with has basically never heard the gospel. And I was also getting a chance to share the gospel with some of the coworkers.”
Paul Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board, said, “Rusty is but one among more than 3,600 IMB missionaries who have continued to share the gospel around the world in the midst of a global pandemic. The risks and challenges our missionaries continue to face in light of COVID-19 are enormous, but they remain hard at work.”
Say: Rusty Ford did the hard work of caring for the physical needs of some of his community’s most vulnerable members. In his work, Ford had the opportunity to share the gospel with people he might never have met. Then call attention to Question #1 (When has a grueling experience been worth it?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study [Option from Adult Leader Guide]
In advance, play a video clip of a grueling but rewarding experience. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use the following to introduce Question #3.
On October 16, Christian missionaries working in Haiti were kidnapped. Those who were kidnapped – 12 adults and five children – are part of Christian Aid Ministries (CAM). What has been surprising to many people is the response from CAM since the missionaries were kidnapped. In all the public statements from CAM and the prayer requests from the families of the kidnapped missionaries, they have asked for prayer for the kidnappers. The words from CAM and the families have shown love and kindness toward the kidnappers. In a public statement, CAM said, “we commit this situation to God and trust Him to see us through.” They also said that, through this situation they hoped that, “the Lord Jesus [might] be magnified and many more people come to know His love and salvation.”
While some have been surprised by CAM’s response, the ministry has explained itself, saying, “We have received various comments about our position on loving those who wrong us. This teaching, promoted for many years in Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptist communities, we believe is God’s desire for all people.”
Say: The families and coworkers of the kidnapped missionaries believe that their words of kindness and forgiveness toward the kidnappers are God’s desire for the way they should respond. Then call attention to Question #3 (What helps you remain obedient to God during seasons of testing?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— 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.
- Growing up, how did you feel about tests in school? Why?
- When have you aced an important test?
- What’s one valuable lesson you’ve learned from facing a test, or challenge, in life?
- When have you felt like your faith was tested?
- How does God use testing in our lives to strengthen us?
- What are our options when we face a test of faith?
- What tools are at our disposal when we face a period of testing?
- Which details from verse 3 encourage you to obey God, even in hard things?
- Which specific actions in these verses reveal Abraham’s confidence in God?
- What are some key ways God is providing for you right now?
- How might God’s faithfulness to us in the past impact our ability to trust Him during a test?
- When have you seen God provide at just the right time?
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:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.