THE BIG IDEA:
Even though God is great and huge in every way, he’s close enough to care for us and bring his mighty power to bear on the hard things in our lives.
We think we’re on our own to face the huge challenges in our lives, so we turn to other sources of help that don’t really help us.
Look to the Lord for his help in whatever we’re facing since he’s big enough to handle anything and close and caring enough to make a difference in our lives.
A St. Bernard. Imagine meeting a St. Bernard, one of the biggest breeds of dog. These dogs are massive, and they’re also “right there,” ready to give you a warm, affectionate lick. God is kind of like that. He’s way bigger than the biggest dog; he fills the universe. At the same time, he’s closer than your next breath. He’s close enough to love you. He’s close enough to care. He’s close enough to make a difference in your life.
- What I want the group to know and understand: God is more vast than anything we can imagine, but he also knows us individually and loves us enough to care for all our needs and challenges.
- What I want the group to experience: Peace, security, and confidence as children of a God who is both big and close.
- How I want the group to respond: By trusting in both God’s might and his intimate care for the big and little challenges we face in life.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
It’s easy to think of God as distant. It’s also easy to think of him as not being concerned with the challenges we face in life. But when we meet God as he really is, we discover that he’s massive in every way, bigger than any challenge we face. We also discover that he truly cares about us in a way that’s meaningful and unique to us and our circumstances. That means we can turn to him and trust him with whatever we’re going through.
Liven your lesson up with these creative ideas. A well placed video, illustration, game or activity can really make your lesson memorable. If you have idas you would like to share with the community, click here.
Picture the scene: you’re facing a major crisis that you can’t solve yourself, and your two options for help are the President of the United States and your mother. The president has a lot of power, but he doesn’t know and care about you. Your mother knows and loves you like no one else, but she doesn’t have the power of the president. Who would you choose? What difference would it make if you didn’t have to choose — in other words, what if your mother was the president?
Allow the group to discuss. Help your group see that it’s hard to have the power of the president without the care of someone who loves you. But it’s also hard to have someone who cares yet doesn’t have the power to help you. It’s ideal to have both. That’s exactly what we have with the Lord: someone who’s big and powerful enough to make a difference in any situation but who also knows, cares about, and loves us in the midst of what we’re facing.
Before beginning, have someone pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help everyone understand what they are reading.
1. Read Luke 8:22-25. How would you describe Jesus from this passage?
Allow the group to discuss. We want them to see that He is strong (vs 24), also that He is caring enough to get up and care for the needs of the disciples.
2. What do you think was going on in the minds of the disciples during this boat trip?
Help the students to put themselves in this story and think through feelings of fear, excitement and even doubt concerning the ability of Jesus to help them. Walk through the events of the story from beginning to end and have them tell you how the disciples are feeling along the way.
3. Why do you think Jesus slept through the storm? Could He have stopped the storm before it even reached them?
God is interested in in growing our faith, He often waits for us to ask Him before He acts. Also, as the story shows, He has complete control over the weather but chooses to use things like this to teach us about his love and power. See verse 25.
4. What did Jesus say about the faith of the disciples? What was He trying to teach them?
He asked them, “Where is your faith?” This story shows how much God cares about each of us and even though He is big and powerful, He still wants to work in our lives and see our faith grow. The disciples were just beginning to learn how to trust Jesus and He used this scary time to show them His great power.
5. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like the disciples, where you were in a bad way, desperate or fearful? Where was God in the middle of that situation?
Have the students share. You might need to point out ways God worked on their behalf as sometimes it’s hard to see things in our own lives. Other students may have good observations as well.
6. How would you think and act differently if you really believed that God is all powerful, but also really cares about you personally?
Allow the group to discuss. Responses might include: less of a feeling that I’m on my own in life; more security, peace, and confidence in facing challenges; less likely to be overwhelmed; more hope that God is at work in the midst of even the most challenging situations.
7. God is so close to us that he knows us better than anyone else. Luke 12:7 says that God even knows exactly how many hairs you have on your head. Do you even know that? What is comforting about God knowing you so well? What is scary about it?
Allow the group to discuss. Some answers may be that it is comforting that God knows me so well because it shows that he cares about me, and he knows exactly what I need. He doesn’t treat me like everybody else, but like an individual person. And it is scary that God knows me so well because I can’t hide anything from him. There are things in my life that I am ashamed about and don’t want anyone to know about. At the same time, this very fact comforts me, because it shows that, even though God knows the worst about me, he still chooses to love and accept me!
8. God is so big that he could instantly snap his fingers and solve your biggest problems. Why do you think he sometimes doesn’t do that?
Allow the group to discuss. First of all, it is important to acknowledge that you don’t know why God doesn’t sometimes answer our prayers or remove our problems. Some of our students have enormous problems in their lives that cause them significant pain. They cannot imagine that, if God was all powerful, that he would allow that to continue. But we can also point out that God cares more about our character than about our comfort. Sometimes he uses our problems as tools to make us the men and women he wants us to be. He also uses our pain to allow us to help others with similar pain. It is also important to remember that God, himself, went through significant pain on the cross. He is not some God that is totally removed from us and doesn’t understand what we are going through. He knows pain and he hurts with us.
9. Think of a challenge you are facing right now. Has this story of Jesus calming the storm changed your perspective about your problems? Can you share?
You might need to share from your own life to get the discussion going. One answer might be that you will pray about your situation right away and look for ways that God is showing His power. As we have seen in our other studies, we know that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to face the challenges in our lives.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.