This Bible lesson deals with the so-called “problem of evil” in our world. More importantly, why does God allow so many terrible and sad things to happen in this life. Children will be pointed to Jesus Christ as the only hope in times of trouble. Even our Savior suffered, the most innocent person to ever live, but God was at work behind the scenes to accomplish something greater through his resurrection. Don’t miss the other lessons in this series, “Tough Questions Kids Ask.”
TARGET AGES: 10-14
OBJECTIVE: To teach students how to biblically respond and rely on Christ through bad circumstances.
MAIN IDEA: Bad things will happen to us because we live in a sinful world, but God is with us and will equip us to deal with whatever happens in our lives.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Ephesians 6:10-18, Job 1:8, 1:20-21, and 42:10-14, Philippians 1:12-14, 1:18, and 1:23-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Luke 22:42, Matthew 28:6
MATERIAL(S): multi-pack of birthday cards
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, today we are going to learn how to respond to bad circumstances. Please open our hearts and help us be willing to trust you during hard times. Amen.”
PREVIOUS LESSON REVIEW: Explain that last week we talked about angels and demons. Ask, “What are the different types of angels (ministers, protectors, messengers, warriors, worshippers)? What does a demon do (deceives people into thinking they don’t need God)?” Remind students that angels and demons are created beings just like us, so we aren’t supposed to worship them or seek their attention. They are tools used, or allowed, by God for his purposes.
Bible Lesson “Why do bad things happen?” (15 minutes)
- Tell the students that today we are talking about why bad things happen in our lives. Ask, “Did anything bad happen this week? Explain how it made you feel (e.g. sickness made me feel tired, frustrated, and less able to serve the Lord).” Open a discussion about what we should do when bad things happen and get input from the students. Suggestions include: praying, reading the bible, asking for advice, and making better decisions. Say, “Do bad things only happen to us when we make bad decisions (no)? So how can we protect ourselves (by relying on the Lord and by putting on the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18)?” Explain that we are going to look at three people in the bible who faced hard times: Job, Paul, and Jesus. Say, “With each of these men, we will look up verses to answer the following questions: Did he ‘deserve’ what happened? How did he react? What did he learn through his circumstances?”
- Read Job 1:8 and 1:20-21. Explain that Job certainly didn’t deserve his hard circumstances because he was considered “blameless and upright” before the Lord. However, after the loss of his children and possessions Job responded in a God-honoring way. Read Job 42:10-14. Ask, “What do you think Job learned when God blessed his faithfulness by giving him twice as much as before?” Add that we shouldn’t be faithful simply to receive blessings, but we will receive rewards when we choose to align our lives with God’s standards.
- Go on to learn about Paul’s tough times. Read Philippians 1:12-14 & 18. Say, “Even though Paul didn’t deserve to be in prison, he reacted in a way that honored Christ. Paul knew others were being reached for Christ, and that was the most important thing to him. Has anything bad ever happened to you that later turned out to be good (give an example from your own life)?” Read Philippians 1:23-26. Clarify that Paul knew his hard circumstances allowed opportunity for God’s continued provision for himself and others.
- Lastly, discuss the horrible circumstances that Jesus faced. Remind students that Jesus was completely innocent of everything that happened to him (most especially the crucifixion) because he never sinned. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. Ask, “Does anyone know how Jesus responded to God’s will that he be crucified for our sins?” Allow time for students to comment. Then read Luke 22:42. Explain that Jesus didn’t want to go through the terrible circumstances that happened, but he was more concerned with following God’s will for his life. Lastly, we learn from Jesus’ life that God’s promises always come true! Read Matthew 28:6.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Bad things will happen in our lives, but we can choose to respond in the right way just like Job, Paul, and Jesus. Through every bad circumstance God wants us to rely on him.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, we know that you hold our lives in your hands. Please remind us to respond in ways that honor you when we face hard times. Amen.”
Service Project (20 minutes)
BIRTHDAY CARDS: Continue last week’s service project and have the students sign birthday cards for needy children. Take time writing personal messages of encouragement and/or bible verses on each card. Before dismissing, specifically pray that the recipients will accept Jesus as their Savior if they do not already know him.