Small Group Questions

Hope In The Dark: Trust in Times of Trouble.   

Introduction:

What do you do when God feels distant? When God doesn’t cooperate? When God seems late? When God is unfair?  We all face times when it feels like God is far away. Our prayers are unanswered and our circumstances go from a light rain shower to a full-blown hurricane. And when faced with 150 mph winds, God seems distant or worse yet distracted. In this weeks message we delve into the question of trust. Can God be trusted in times of trouble?

Something To Talk About: 

As we begin to accept that storms happen and as we meet adversity, we are faced with another choice. In what spirit will we accept these dark, difficult days? We can grit our teeth and hunker down to wait out the storm, or we can trust God. But trust is more than just a feeling. True trust in God is a springboard for action. Consider the following:

  1. The silver lining in the storm: We choose to trust God to do something positive with the negatives. Trusting God brings a certain element of hope to our hearts – that there is something redeemable amidst the devastation. Real trust is not weak. Real trust is a tenacious, spiritual insistence that God is in control and already taking measures to work out His ultimate purposes, even amidst hurricanes and other powerful storms.  And real trust remains firm when God does the unbelievable and when He chooses not to answer our questions at all. 
  2. Learning to trust: When you plant a garden you learn quickly what it takes to grow.  In times of trouble we can trust God to show us something new about Himself. Over time the garden will teach us some lessons on what we did right and what we didn’t do right. In times of trouble, we too can learn the trustworthiness of God even when it seems like God is paying no attention to our situations at all.  Above all, the thing God wants us to learn about Him is that He has our greater good in mind in order that we may see Him more clearly. Job said, “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you” (Job 42:5, TLB). Life troubles should cause us to refocus on God’s “size” – His might, power, and ability – and that we can cast our care in His direction, trust Him to work out all things for our good.
  3. Looking inward: If trusting God during trouble allows us to learn something new about God, it also holds up a full-length mirror for each of us. It is in times of trouble, that shows us how far we have come or have to go in our relationship with God. It shows us the depth and quality of our faith. Using the garden example, each time we plant a garden we should be better prepared for any trouble that comes long. We will experience problems in gardening and in life. When times of trouble come along, more often than not faith and trust in God is the answer.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is trusting God so difficult for us? Why is it scary?  
  2. Have you withstood a “storm” since being a Christian?  How does it compare to going through something tough without Jesus?
  3. How does our lack of trust in tough times illustrate our distrust in God’s ability and/or His character?
  4. What does Jeremiah 17:5-6 say about those who trust themselves and not the Lord? In verses 7 and 8, what does he say about those who trust Him explicitly?
  5. How does our level of trust testify to our relationship with Him?
  6. Can we trust God to make a positive out of any trouble? How?
  7. Is trust in God proactive? If so, how? 
  8. How does change affect our trust in God?
  9. What in this week’s message was particularly helpful to you?

Take one thing home with you:

“He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”  Job 1:21

There is something to be learned from this verse in Job. Three times in this short verse the name Lord is used. This word pretty accurately represents God as revealed in the Bible. Like Northwest Florida, Job got hit pretty hard yet he did not jettison what he knew to be true of God. He reminded himself that no matter what has happened God is sovereign. And that God is a God of love, mercy and grace. He is confessing that God is in control. Job is essentially proclaiming that the horrifying events that occurred in his life does not trump God’s holiness and the love He has for Job. My prayer is that we draw guidance from Job on how to trust God in tragedy.