Time Waits For No One

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12.

Chico Xavier once said that “Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… anyone can start over and make a new ending.”  In About Time, Tim had the ability to go back in time to make a new beginning. Hollywood can do that, we cannot.  Tim did not have to wait, we do. 

Most of us would rather do anything than wait. Some of us would rather do the wrong thing than wait. Still, a good part of our life is waiting. Waiting to graduate. Waiting for the right man or woman to come into our life. Waiting for a baby to be born. Waiting to hear if you got the job. Waiting for your prayers to be answered. 

Waiting is one of the hardest parts of the Christian life. Many of us are not very good at it. We often get frustrated waiting at the McDonald’s drive thru or behind a slow car on a two lane road. We need and want to get to the next place or the next thing. This mindset often carries over into our spiritual lives with us rushing to fix something rather than waiting on God.

Ecclesiastes 3 says ”For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” God has a plan and a purpose for everything. The problem is not with God’s plan. The problem is we want to go to a closet, clench our fist and solve the problem by going back in time. The rest of us who can’t go back in time have trouble waiting because we don’t have all the details. From our perspective, we have everything figured out and we want God to move within our timeframe.

But God rarely does things according to our timeframe, and because of this we can easily get discouraged. If we aren’t careful, we’ll think He’s uncaring or mad at us. In the Gospels we see this happening to Mary and Martha while they are waiting on Jesus to come and heal their brother, Lazarus. When Jesus finally shows up, He is accused of taking too long.

Waiting on God means patiently looking to Him for what we need. David learned to “wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” (Psalms 62:5), and that “people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalms 62:8) 

We don’t like to wait. But sometimes God’s answer to us is simply, “Be patient and wait.” We can pray with David: “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.” (Psalms 5:3)  We can trust His response, even if it doesn’t come in the time we expect.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think that God has reason to be impatient with you? 
  2. What are the main differences in situations when you are and are not patient? Do you think that patience comes naturally, i.e., you have it as a child, or is it something that is learned as you get older and more mature?
  3. Psalm 37:34 [TLB) says,”Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing, and you will see the wicked destroyed.” What does that mean to our lives today?
  4. What can we do this week to become better at waiting on the Lord?

The Time is Short

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” –  Psalm 39:4-5.

Mary has a great line in the movie About Time. She says, “And so it begins, lots and lots of types of days.”  It doesn’t take too many days before we start to realize that our time on earth is short…and getting shorter each good day, bad day, and ordinary day. It’s sobering to read how often the Bible emphasizes the brevity and fragility of life. King David wrote: “…each of us is but a breath.” With the brevity of life in mind, Moses made this request of God: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) 

While on the surface, it seems a weird thing to understand that is exactly what we should do. We should all pray as David and Moses did for God’s help to understand the great value of our limited time and how to make the most of each day. How we use our time says a lot about our character and priorities. Most people think they have plenty of time and as a result waste some of it. The Bible equates time management with wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” A big part of wisdom is knowing the value of time and learning to make the most of it. Both the Bible and history offer many examples of great accomplishments by people who used their time well.

Paul emphasized the seriousness of “redeeming the time”—making the most of our time and opportunities. “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) In Colossians 4:5-6 he similarly wrote: “Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.”

No matter how young and healthy you are, life is brief. James warns us: “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15).

We should not be concerned that life is short. Heaven awaits. Everlasting life. No shortage of time. No running out of time. No worries about time at all. Time that goes on and on and on. 

In the meantime, time flies. Make the most of each and every day!

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you react when the Bible says we are but a breath?
  2. Ben Franklin said, “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Do you agree? If so, how does our lack of wisdom affect how we use our time?
  3. What does it mean to use our time wisely?
  4. What would you do differently this week if you knew your time was short?

In Times Past

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” —Psalms 9:9-10.    

In this week’s movie, About Time, Tim uses his ability to go back in time to make his present life better. If you could travel through time, where would you go? It opens up a unlimited number of possibilities. Can you imagine going back to the beginning and watching creation? That would be amazing. Or watching Jesus walk on water or witnessing the resurrection. I would also go back to see what Jesus wrote in the dirt in John 8:6. But we can’t go back. We are locked into the present.

That present is both fleeting and controlled by God. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived in the book of Ecclesiastes described time this way.He said, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” 

God knows all about our time and our seasons of life. He knows all about our experiences. He knows all about reality. He knows that we don’t always “get it right.” Our timing is off at times. We sow when we should reap. We hold grudges when we should forgive. We speak when we should be silent. But God knows. God knows when its time for us to be born and He knows when its time for us to die. God knows when we need to cry and when we need to laugh. God knows when we need to mourn and when we need to dance. God knows when we need to be silent and when we need to speak. God knows everything. He also knows why everything happens. And He has created a heaven, a place untainted by our missed timings and our lost opportunities. C.S. Lewis said, “Our Heavenly Father has provided many delightful inns for us along our journey, but he takes great care to see that we do not mistake any of them for home.” 

I believe God makes life beautiful in His time. Those who live a surrendered life according to God’s time and schedule will ultimately lead a more fulfilling life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you could go back in time, what would you change?
  2. Does the fact that time is fleeting impact the way you live?
  3. Do you feel that God’s and your timing is off at times? How do you know? What can you do about it?
  4. What can we do to better walk with God in this season of our life? 

What Time Is It?

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; –  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

In the movie, About Time, the men in Tim’s family share an odd genetic quirk – the ability to travel in time. Skeptical at first blush, Tim is skeptical when his dear old dad finally spills the beans to him. When he finds it is true, Tim sets off to find and win a wife. A task that would seem a little more manageable with the gift of do overs. But that assumption is quickly proven both correct and incorrect, as Tim awkwardly navigates the perils of growing up and trying to become a responsible adult worthy of finding true love and, subsequently, true happiness.

On our life’s journey we’ll face many different situations, experience many different experiences, and meet many different people. Sometimes things go great and we rejoice. But, sometimes things go bad and we are sad. Sometimes our feelings are hurt, and we become isolated. Sometimes we really blow it. Sometimes we get it right, and we smile. The Bible says that God takes these collective experiences and eventually makes something beautiful out of all of the loose ends.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is an appropriate time for all of life’s experiences and expectations. Everything must come in its appropriate time. If you get it out of sync you are in trouble, especially when you can’t go back in time to fix  the problem. The problem is that we are constantly trying to run this schedule ourselves. But God has already planned the schedule. 

Solomon is telling us that we are not going to escape the hurts and sorrows of life. God chose them for us. The proof is God’s own Son. Jesus was not handed a beautiful life with everything perfect, free from struggle and pain. No, He was,“despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” {Isaiah 53:3}. There will be times of hurt, of sorrow and weeping.

Unlike Tim, we are trapped in time with all the unfulfilled expectations that the passing of time brings to us. And if this world is all there is, we’re in trouble. But Solomon asserts that God can make things beautiful when appropriate to do so.  While God has not given us every detail of what our tomorrows will be like, He can and will recreate something beautiful out of the brokenness of our lives.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In Ecclesiastes 3, is Solomon describing what is or what one should do?
  2. The point of Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 is that God is sovereign. What does sovereignty mean? How does trusting that God is sovereign impact the way you live and view life?
  3. What would you say to someone who struggles with God because of suffering? How have you seen God bring something good out of something bad?
  4. Pray and ask God to trust His timing in your life this week.

Sweetly Broken

 

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” – Psalms 147:3.

God delights in transforming lives. Time and time again we have heard real–life stories of people with shattered dreams, shameful secrets, and damaged souls, and the God who makes them beautiful again. I am sure that Louis Zamparini would prefer a different path than the one that ultimately led him to Jesus. I think anyone would. Yet when Louis surrendered all the pieces of his life, Jesus was ready to create something new out of Louis’ life.

The truth is, Christians need to be broken. They need to lose something. They need to be humbled. The self-righteous part of them should be gone. The struggles and hurts of their lives should make us sensitive to the struggles and hurts of others. That makes us approachable. It makes us real. It makes us trustworthy. There’s something in the way faith filled Christians look at you, or the way they talk to you, and the way they serve and love you. But grace comes from brokenness.   

Yes, the concept does not sound particularly appealing. But it is true. Only when we are sweetly broken and surrender our lives to Him, as Jeremy Riddle reminds us,  are we capable to serve God the way He deserves. Only when we are grace-driven, we can love others the way they deserve.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does being broken mean to you?
  2. Humility is God’s prescription for nearly every condition that ails human hearts and relationships. What Scriptures come to mind that support this point? Why do you think this is the case?
  3. How do you think grace and brokenness go together?

Forgiving The Unforgivable

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:14-15.

Louie Zamperini made a prayer while in a lifeboat adrift in the Pacific Ocean that would change his life. He prayed “if you will save me, I will serve you forever.”

He’d been saved from death on the high seas and death at the hands of his tormentors. He’d made it through the endless humiliations and indignities of life in a rat-infested prison camp. He made it through the first part of the prayer, but it was too much to give up revenge against the Japanese soldier, the Bird, who had tortured him. But when Louie accepted Jesus at a Billy Graham crusade all that changed. He lost his desire to kill the Bird.  He no longer hated the guards who’d tortured him.  All the anger and bitterness was gone. He wanted to do the right thing, but could he do it. Could he go back to Japan, to see the people who’d tormented and humiliated him? What if it meant talking with the guards who’d beat and starved him?  What if it meant … forgiving … them?

Louie decided he had to return to Japan and to visit Sugamo Prison. Many of his former guards were serving sentences there. Louis forgave his former captors and during a speaking tour in Tokyo in 1952, Louis had the opportunity to meet with prisoners at Sugamo prison, which was filled with 850 Japanese war criminals. After speaking to the prisoners,  Louis had requested to meet with his former guards personally. “I looked out and saw them coming down the aisle and, of course, I recognized each one of them vividly. I didn’t even think of my reaction—I jumped off the stage, ran down and threw my arm around them, and they withdrew from me. They couldn’t understand the forgiveness. We went in the room and there, of course, I continued to press the issue of Christianity, you see. And all but one made a decision for Christ.”

One former Japanese soldier wondered how he could forgive these men who treated him so badly. Louis responded, “well, Mr. Sasaki, the greatest story of forgiveness the world’s ever known was the cross. When Christ was crucified He said, ‘Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.’ And I said, ‘It is only through the Cross that I can come back here and say this, but I do forgive you.’” Then he responded to the invitation to become a Christian. 

Louis even attempted to meet with the Bird, but he refused. Instead, Louis sent him a letter which expressed his forgiveness. Here are the words that he wrote to The Bird, the man that tortured and dehumanized him as a POW for so many months:

To Mutsuhiro Watanabe,

As a result of my prisoner of war experience under your unwarranted and unreasonable punishment, my post-war life became a nightmare. It was not so much due to the pain and suffering as it was the tension of stress and humiliation that caused me to hate with a vengeance. Under your discipline, my rights, not only as a prisoner of war but also as a human being, were stripped from me. It was a struggle to maintain enough dignity and hope to live until the war’s end.The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love has replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, “Forgive your enemies and pray for them.”As you probably know, I returned to Japan in 1952 and was graciously allowed to address all the Japanese war criminals at Sugamo Priso.  I asked them about you, and was told that you probably had committed Hara Kiri, which I was sad to hear. At that moment, like the others, I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian.”

More than just a tale of courage and resilience, Louis Zamperini’s life is a powerful look at the transforming grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your current impressions of forgiveness? (A one time event? A forgone conclusion? Something you earn? Always available? Something you offer? Impossible?)
  2. What puts you off or draws you in about forgiveness?
  3. Do you think you could forgive the Bird if you were in Louie’s shoes?
  4. Do you believe that forgiveness can also bring healing? 

Broken By Grace

“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”    Romans 3:20-24.

When you watch the movie or read the book, Unbroken seems a fitting title. Unbroken is the journey of a remarkable man, Louis Zamperini. It is a tale of daring, defiance, persistence, ingenuity, and the ferocious will of a man who refused to be broken. In the book and the movie, Louie’s unlikely, inspiring story comes alive. It makes you wonder at what point can a person be broken.

The bullies he faced in high school in the 1920’s couldn’t break him, although they tried. The injustice done to him by other runners as he raced to beat records didn’t break him. The severe homesickness that accompanied his military service couldn’t break him. His plane crash into the Pacific on May 27, 1943 didn’t break him. Some 47 days drifting on a raft in the ocean couldn’t break him. The sharks that attacked him from the water while the Japanese strafed his raft from the sky didn’t break him. Burying a fellow soldier at sea couldn’t break him. A storm that nearly swamped his raft didn’t break him. Surviving on rainwater, fish, and seabirds until he was picked up by a Japanese patrol boat didn’t break him. His Japanese captors who taunted and tortured and nearly starved him for two and a half years couldn’t break him. The mental agonies stirred up by the tortures of “The Bird” haunted him, but didn’t break him. But, eventually, Louie was broken.

On September 1949, at a Billy Graham crusade, Jesus Christ broke him. Billy Graham came to Los Angeles for a three-week campaign to bring the city to Christ. Louie was reluctant to attend but did go and on the second day he came forward to receive Christ. Here is his account: “I dropped to my knees and for the first time in my life truly humbled myself before the Lord. I asked him to forgive me for not having kept the promises I’d made during the war, and for my sinful life. I made no excuses. I did not rationalize, I did not blame. He had said, ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ so I took him at His word, begged for His pardon, and asked Jesus to come into my life.”

Louie’s conversion put his entire life in context. The Lord’s sovereign work in saving Louie—in breaking him with a reality of his sin and turning him toward Christ in faith—made sense of all that had gone before and all that followed.

In short, the story of Louie Zamperini is that of a man unbroken by war, but broken by grace. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does the word “grace” mean to you?
  2. Are there circumstances /events in your life that have led you to where you are now? Or in other words, do you believe God’s grace is transformational? 
  3. Do you have difficulty with the idea of being broken in order to be made whole?
  4. How can I model God’s gift of grace in my life?

Troubled Waters

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.” —Psalms 9:9-10.    

Hollywood loves stories where a person faces insurmountable odds and comes through in the end because it is discovered they can handle more than anyone thought possible. That was Louie Zamperini’s story for sure. He was a very promising runner. In his teens, he qualified for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. With an amazing finish there in the 5000 meters, there were many who thought that he would be the first to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile. With so much promise, he was a favorite to lead the U.S. track team into the 1940 Olympic Games. But World War II changed all that.

On May 27, 1943, as Louie and an airplane crew were flying a search mission over the Pacific Ocean, mechanical failure sent their plane spiraling into the ocean. Miraculously, Louie and two other crewmembers survived: pilot Russell Allen Phillips and tail gunner Francis McNamara. Adrift on a pair of life rafts with only meager provisions, the trio spent the next several weeks braving blistering heat, hunger, dehydration and circling packs of sharks. On one occasion, machine gunners from a passing Japanese bomber strafed the airmen, deflating one of their rafts and leaving the other on the verge of ruin. Zamperini and his fellow castaways survived on rainwater and the occasional captured bird or fish, but all soon saw their weight drop below 100 pounds, and McNamara perished after 33 days at sea. Zamperini and Phillips remained adrift for another two weeks before being captured by the Japanese Navy near the Marshall Islands. By then, the men had drifted an astonishing 2,000 miles.

Like Zamperini, you may be feeling like you’re floating in the middle of a vast ocean with no plan at all and no help in sight. You feel like things are going from bad to worse. You wonder if God knows that you exist. You wonder if He even cares. You wonder if He is really out there, if He really is with you. Isaiah 61:1 reminds us: ”The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” 

All does not go right. Life may never be exactly what you hoped. Sometimes it gets worse when you least expect it. But that is why Jesus came. He came to comfort the brokenhearted, to bring the good news of rescue and help to you. If suffering and pain are breaking your heart today, hear the Good News of Jesus’ healing grace for you. The Savior who died for you and rose from the dead has overcome everything that would cause you to be in troubled waters. He will bring you safely to land. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some good things that can come from going through a difficult or challenging time in your life? Can you think of a time when you realized the meaning of an experience or troubles in your life after the fact? How so?
  2. Was there a time when you went around, over or under a difficult situation instead of going through it? In hindsight, do you think the outcome would have been different if you chose to go through it instead? 
  3. According to Psalm 42:5, what are the two things we can do to help us through tough times?
  4. What can we do this week to be better prepared for the tough times in our lives?

Broken Vessel

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted. And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalms 34:18.

Every life has a story, it is just that some are a little more interesting than others. Louis Zamperini, on the other hand is quite a story. That story is told in the movie Unbroken. Unbroken is a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption.  The film begins with the trouble-making son of Italian immigrants, chronicles his unlikely and meteoric rise to fame as an Olympian, displays some of the unspeakable horrors of war, and highlights the resilience and strength even weak men can have in the face of agonizing pain and unrelenting terror. After a plane crash into the ocean, Louie and two fellow soldiers were trapped on a raft for 47 days before they were captured by the Japanese. The Bird — the military officer who held and mercilessly tortured Louie — is sadistic.

After the war, Louie returned to his childhood home in California. He returned home unable to shake the memories of his Japanese torturer. His life began to spiral out of control. He decided he could only find peace if he killed the Bird. He invested all his family’s money trying to scrape together enough to finance his murderous dream. Bloody vengeance against Mutsuhiro Watanbe had become an obsession.

Everything changed in the fall of 1949. Billy Graham led Louie Zamperini to the Lord. He was not the worthless, broken, forsaken man that the Bird had strived to make of him. In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness, had fallen away. That morning, he believed, he was a new creation. His thirst for revenge was swept away.

Louie visited the prison where so many bad memories were created. He stood there and looked into the eyes of the very men who had tortured him. He was face to face with the men who caused his pain and humiliation. How did he respond? Not the way you, or the Japanese guards expected him to behave. Louie was seized by childlike, giddy exuberance. In bewilderment, the men who had abused him watched him come to them, his hands extended, a radiant smile on his face.  He was different thanks to Jesus and was ready to forgive those who had caused him so much pain. 

The book documents a letter Louie wrote to the Bird: “As a result of my prisoner of war experience under your unwarranted and unreasonable punishment, my post-war life became a nightmare. . . . But thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love replaced the hate I had for you.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. You may know nothing about Louis Zamperini, but based on Sunday’s message, what words would you use to describe him?
  2. Think about a time in your life when you struggled with something you didn’t think you could overcome. How were you able to get through it? Did you see God’s power at work through your situation?
  3. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you have proper perspective in your trials. Pray that He would be glorified through your struggle, and ask Him for strength to persevere. Thank Him for His faithfulness, even when you cannot see Him working.

Why Did God Allow That To Happen?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:8-11.

We are looking at the movie The Impossible this week as part of our At The Movies series. No movie can capture or duplicate the devastation of the 2004 tsunami that the film is based on. Over 227,000 people died. Nor can the movie capture the human suffering of hospitals overflowing with the injured. Or the survivors searching for missing loved ones by studying the walls covered with pictures of the hospitalized. And no film can capture the grief when their worst nightmare is realized and they find their loved ones in makeshift morgues. So many families were shattered on that day.

It is easy to look at the carnage of this movie, glance skyward and ask “why would God allow this to happen?” It is hard to grasp that the God of love would be involved in such a horrific natural disaster.  The tsunami happened because God chose to let it happen. The question is why?  I can’t begin to answer that question, but I will say this. Our challenge is to continue to believe God and to trust Him in the midst of horrendous devastation. 

What we need to realize is that God can be trusted, even when it seems as if He is not on our side. We have to point people to the fact that God has intervened in our planet by sending Jesus Christ. There we see the love of God most clearly. The other thing you need to realize is that time is short and eternity is long. Sometimes we reverse that. The values that we have here on this earth, although life is precious, the fact is, earthquakes do not increase death. Everybody is going to die someday. But we also need to remember that God has already dealt with evil – moral and natural (floods, hurricanes) – through the cross and the resurrection. God has acted and evil has been given a death sentence. It’s not as if God allows bad things to happen and that’s his final word.

Let me close this devotional with this illustration. All of Job’s 10 children died in a natural disaster. There was a wind storm that blew down the house. (Job 1:18-19) Job was confronted with the fact that because of a natural disaster, there are 10 fresh graves on the hilltop. So now what is he going to do? His wife tells him to curse God and die. But Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  (Job 1:21) Job shows us it is possible to worship God even without explanations, even when we don’t know all the reasons.

Discussion Questions:

  1. It’s during our “very bad days” that we wrestle with the question of “why does God allow this?”  Why do you think God allows bad things to happen to you?
  2. When we go through difficulties, there is a definite purpose awaiting us down the road. Agree or disagree?  Can a tragedy be a blessing in disguise?
  3. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” The “all things” in that verse means exactly what it says. All things. Do you believe that means bad things as well as good things.
  4. Pray and ask God for the strength to trust Him in times of tragedy and trials.