Apr 26, 2022 18:00pm
Faith TALK: During Tough Times

(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)

Focus Verse: “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

T-Talk About It Topic

Tell me about one tough time you’ve had to go through. Did this tough time help you grow closer to God or further away?

Let’s all admit it – none of us like having to go through a tough circumstance. We would all love it if life was happy-go-lucky, and we never had to face an obstacle. But, that’s just not life here on Planet Earth. On Earth, we have 3 sources of trouble in our lives: 1. People who sin. 2. You and I who sin. 3. The devil who loves to cause sin. As long as we live on Earth, there will always be some sort of trial or obstacle to face…but it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Trials test our faith. Think about it: If we never had a problem to face, our Christian character would never be tested. Like an athlete who lifts weights to grow stronger, God uses tough times to grow our spiritual muscle so we can be stronger in our faith. So, in a way, trials are good for us. Not only this, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 challenges us to have a thankful heart while going through these times.

A-Anchor To The Bible

Paul and Silas were doing ministry work and were on their way to prayer when they were arrested for causing disorder in the city. They were stripped of their clothing and beaten with rods. Then, they were thrown into jail. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am willing to say they were not feeling thankful at that moment. They were doing the Lord’s work…and they were beaten badly for it. Instead of getting angry at God for allowing this to happen, they prayed and worshipped God in prison. Not only that, other prisoners heard them worship the Lord. And that is when God intervened and did the miraculous. Suddenly, there was a violent earthquake that rocked the foundation of the jail, causing the doors of the cells to open, and the chains on the prisoners to fall off – they were rescued! That is the beauty of having a thankful heart amid pain.

Another example of this is with Job. Job lost almost everything nearly all at once – his 10 children and all his livestock (which is how he made a living). This would be a tremendous blow to any of us, but instead of becoming angry and accusative toward the Lord, he fell to the ground and worshipped the Lord saying, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.” Wow, Job’s entire life was completely changed and instead of being bitter at God, he chose to thank God for what He had. If we were all honest, it would be very hard to have a thankful heart at this moment…yet Job does. Now, he didn’t understand why this had happened, but he never lost his trust and faith in God. Because of this, God blessed Job with double the amount of livestock than he had before and gave him 10 more children! Again, that is the blessing of having a thankful heart amid tremendous sadness and pain.

And let’s not forget about the only man to be swallowed by a giant fish for running away from God: Jonah. While in the belly of that huge fist, amid all the nasty smells and stomach acids, Jonah prayed a prayer that recognized God as His rescuer and His salvation…and then he ends his prayer by thanking and worshipping the Lord. Can you imagine being in a fish’s belly and thanking God for the good in your life? This act of gratitude prompted God to save Jonah by commanding the fish to vomit him up on dry land.

L-Learn God’s Word

So, why should we have thankful hearts when going through difficult times? There is something about showing gratitude that just engages God to move in miraculous ways in our lives. It doesn’t mean we have to be thankful for the problem, but if we are quick to find reasons to be thankful despite the tough times, it guards our hearts from giving way to feelings that distance us from God, like anger and bitterness. Sometimes, pain trains our spiritual muscles to lean on God in ways we could never learn in the good times – that is why 1 Thessalonians is the perfect reminder for us this week!

K-Keep Each Other Accountable

Motivate each other to memorize our focus verse this week. Write the focus verse on a chalkboard and display it by the door. Have them say the verse each morning and initial as they do so.

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