Small Group Questions

Unshakeable: When Your World is Shaken Up   

Introduction:

Have you ever felt pressured to make choices that don’t align with your values? As the world’s values continue to drift, you need to be equipped with the resources to handle whatever life throws at you. In the Unshakable series based on the life of Daniel, you’ll discover how to handle life’s most difficult situations. The principles that guided Daniel through precarious life choices will help you learn how to respond when you feel pressured to make wrong choices, want to thrive in a hostile environment, succeed when you’re asked to do the impossible, stand strong for God publicly, and pray the kind of prayers that God answers. This week is Unshaken: when your world is shaken up.

Bottom line: Pain is the high cost of growth.

Something To Talk About:

Adversity is not simply a tool. It is God’s most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth. Once we begin to understand this, and accept it as a spiritual fact of life, adversity becomes easier to bear:

  1. Don’t be surprised by adversity: 1 Peter 4:12 tells us. “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you” John 16:33 (MSG) adds, “…The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” We can expect to encounter adversity in this life. No matter how we try we can’t circumvent difficulties. What God is saying is that shake-ups are a normal part of life in a broken world so we shouldn’t expect things to be perfect here on earth. So don’t let it blow you away. Don’t be surprised. Don’t be shocked. Rather be unshakeable, knowing that God is in control and He has a plan for our lives. 
  2. Look for ways that God might use it for good: God shakes things up in our life so God can work through our suffering to accomplish His purposes in our life. Ultimately, God is in control. He allows the good and bad things in life, and we can trust Him to work all things together for good in the lives of those who love Him. (See Romans 8:28.) If you find yourself in a difficult season right now, find encouragement through this reminder: God will turn it around for good. Somehow. He is faithful to His Word, and He is crazy about you. He will see you through, don’t ever doubt it. You will step out to the other side of the darkness. And who knows, many lives may be affected for the kingdom’s sake, because of your difficult season of struggle. If you find yourself in adversity, rest assured that God is with you and leading you through. But we must choose to view adversity as an opportunity, rather than as an obstacle. 
  3. Trust God for what I don’t understand: Proverbs 20:24  says, “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” God does not require nor ask us to fully comprehend Him or understand all that He does. If He wanted us to know everything there is to know, He would have revealed everything there is to know. But instead, He has given to us all the truth we need to know about Him and He calls us to humbly trust Him in light of this revelation. The Bible very clearly communicates that God is perfect in character. If this is the default, how can we second guess or critically scrutinize God’s actions based on our limited knowledge of grace, love, righteousness, and justice. It would be much better if we let Him define for us what is good, loving, righteous, and just. And then to trust what He says. There are things about God that will always baffle us. We will never have all the answers. But we don’t need them if we trust God for what we don’t understand knowing that He has our best interest at heart.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Following God is not safe. How has that statement played out in your life?
  2. Describe a time when you had to overcome a big obstacle in your life. What did this experience teach you about adversity?
  3. Sometimes short-term pain can bring about long-term joy and peace. Have you ever felt like the pain you went through was worth it because of the end result? 
  4. Adversity, setbacks, and unexplainable negative events are the tools that God uses to help us become more Christlike. Is it possible to waste adversities/struggles in your life?
  5. What does it mean to trust God? What is the difference between passive trust and active trust?
  6. Give some examples of when you have trusted God and how you made the decision to trust Him rather than lean on your own understanding and strength.
  7. Read Deuteronomy 31:8. What does this verse teach us about how God helps us in the midst of adversity?
  8. How will learning to depend on God in all circumstances help you in the future?
  9. What can we do to better handle adversity this week?

Take one thing home with you:

You can read the full story in Daniel 1:1-21, but here is a summary: Nebuchadnezzar, captures Jerusalem. The King orders the royal, Israelite, men into his service. The king gave them a daily amount of food and wine. And he wanted them to be taught the language and books of Babylon (Daniel 1:3-5).

One of those young men, Daniel made a commitment to himself, not to defile his body. He went to the official and asked him if he could eat vegetables and drink water, instead of partaking in the king’s food and wine like the others. The official was concerned because of the king but agreed to test the ideas for 10 days. For 10 days, Daniel only ate vegetables and drank water. At the end of 10 days, Daniel and looked better than the other men. After seeing this, the official took away the king’s royal food and wine and gave everyone vegetables to eat and water to drink (Daniel 1:14-16).

 In this chapter, we see that even in unfortunate circumstances God is still there with us. He is working on our behalf, even when it seems that He isn’t. God was right there with Daniel in captivity making a way for them, helping them with the official and the king. God is the one who opens doors for us. He puts us in the path to meet the right people. He blesses us with wisdom and knowledge to make the right decisions and to learn the right things. In our lives, God does the same for us. When we put God first and seek His will above our own, He will come through for us. God will never let us down. It is God who blesses others to show us favor and compassion when we need it.