Challenges can become bigger when we come up against them more often, especially at this time of Lockdown. That annoying habit one of your family has? Your patience waiting for dinner? Dealing with a brother or sister's pranks without it getting to you?
Some of you have to deal with things that others don't have to deal with and vice versa (if you don't know what that means, look it up, it's a useful phrase!). We're going to read a bit of the bible that talks about hard things happening. In fact it was written by David who had just been pretending to be mad so that people wouldn't kill him. Yet David doesn't dwell on the bad stuff but on the good stuff - he's choosing to look at a bigger picture and praise God for that.
You will need:
A pen/pens (as many colours as you fancy)
A bible (or the internet to look up bible)
On your paper, divide it into four.
Write "HOW TO..." in the middle.
Write one title in each square:
...have God as our help
...random notes and prayers
Each section has questions below, write your notes in each section.
Look up Psalm 34 verses 8-22.
Which bible version, you say? If you have a bible at home or on an app that's fine. For something a bit easier to understand than most, try the "Good News Translation" or the "Good News Youth Bible" (the newer ones in the church youth room are that).
Read the above bit of bible.
Fun fact: this poem is an acrostic poem in Hebrew - the start of each verse spells out the Hebrew alphabet which it was originally written in (not in English).
...have happiness (verses 8-10)
1) It says that if we want to be happy, we should "h___" and "o____ the Lord" - fill the gaps.
2) Think of three things in your life where you have to follow instructions to get a good result (e.g. doing a fitness training programme could be one)
...honour God (verses 11-14)
3) Think of a time where you might be tempted to deliberately say (or have said) something hurtful, untrue or annoying.
4) How did you and others feel after? (Don't worry, we'll get to a positive bit next...)
...have God as our help (verses 15-22)
Verse 18 says "the Lord is near to those who are discouraged".
5) Think of a time when just having someone with you helped you feel better when you have been upset
Verse 19 says "good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all". Adults who lives their lives with faith in God still find this hard to explain when faced with some truly awful situations, and will often talk about Jesus "walking with them" through it, rather than the actual painful thing going away.
6) Will God stop all the bad things? (Extra: what can we expect of God in hard times?)
7) In hard situations what emotions/mental strength might people pray for God to give them?
8) Back to verse 14, which says "strive for peace with all your heart".
Personal perspective: We can ask God for His peace, and find peace in what other verses of the bible say (another session worth of stuff there! Matthew 6:26, John 14:27 and more).
Practical action: This could mean counting to ten before speaking, saying you need a moment out of the room, or something else.
What can you do to help "seek peace" in difficult situations this week? Note them down. If you feel able to, you can talk to someone about this. It might be an important conversation!
If you are ready to, ask God to give you and your family His help this week in really tough situations (if your family are happier, you might be too, it's also good simply to care about others!).
God bless you all,
Katie and the Oak Youth Team