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Things Go Wrong

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WHEN THINGS GO WRONG 

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1–15; Matthew 6:25–34; Romans 8:28

Memory verse: Romans 8:28
”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Lead—In

Explain that trust means “confident belief in a person or thing.” Ask the students to name people or things they trust. List their responses on the chalkboard. They may name God, parents, friends, God’s Word, or teachers.

If the students do not name the items below, give them clues to help them guess these other, less obvious things we trust. Try to help them understand that trusting is something everyone does, but we need to learn who and what to rust.

  1. We trust this item several times a day. Without it we could not sit at a desk or dining table. What is it? (A chair)
  2. We trust these to hold our food from the market or store to our home. What are they? (Bags)
  3. We trust these to hold our shirts or clothing closed. Without them we would not be well dressed. What are they? (Zippers or buttons).

Explain that we trust many things every day. Sometimes these things fail. Chairs get old and fall apart, grocery bags tear, zippers break and buttons fall off. Even people we trust can sometimes fail us. However, God will never fail us. He is faithful to His children and will always keep the promises He has given His Word.

Talk about things that make people feel discouraged. Tell the students that this study will show us who we can trust and what we can do when we feel discouraged.

Hearing God’s Word

(Open your Bible to 1 Kings 19.)

Ask: “Can a Christian be depressed?” (Allow responses.)

A well-known prophet in the Old Testament had been used by God before thousands of people. God had answered the prophet’s prayers many times and performed exciting miracles through his ministry. Once the prophet even prayed for a boy who had died, and the boy came back to life!

Elijah is Discouraged

Despite his great ministry, this prophet became discouraged and depressed. He thought he was the only one left who loved God. The queen of the land was threatening to kill him because he served God. He felt alone and scared.

Ask: “What do you suppose the prophet, a great man of God did?” (Allow responses.)

He ran away! He travelled all day in the wilderness. By evening he was very tired and feeling even more discouraged. He sat down under a tree to rest and think about his problems.

Ask: “Can you ever run away from your problems? (Allow discussion.)

Ask: “Have you ever had to take a detour while on a trip?”

Sometimes detours are inconvenient. They may cause us to take longer to get to our destination, but detours serve an important purpose. They keep us from travelling on hazardous roads. Detours help us get where we are going safely. When problems come, think of them as just a detour. God can use the problems that come into our lives as spiritual detours to get us where He wants us to be.

Elijah Prays to Die

This prophet suffering from depression was Elijah. He had tried to run away from his troubles, but he still felt miserable. Sitting under that juniper tree, he prayed something like this, “God, everything is going wrong; I wish I could die. I have had enough! Since I have to die sometime, why don’t You just take me now?”

After he had said this, Elijah lay down under the tree and went to sleep. While he was sleeping, an angel touched him. “Get up and eat,” the angel said. Elijah looked around. There was some bread baking on hot stones and a jar of water nearby. He got up, ate, and then went to sleep again.

Elijah Tries to Hide

Later the angel came again and told Elijah to get up and eat some more because he had a long way to travel. The food and rest would give Elijah strength for the journey. It was a long journey. Elijah travelled for 40 days and 40 nights. Do you know where Elijah went? He went to a mountain where he found a cave. He decided to live there in the cave where no one would find him. What a gloomy place to live—inside a dark, damp cave!

But God knew where Elijah was. God asked Elijah what he was doing there. Elijah was still discouraged and feeling sorry for himself. He answered, “God, I have worked hard for you, but the people who claim to belong to you do not act like your children. They do not love and worship you anymore. They even try to kill all of your servants. I am the only one left in the whole land who still serves you.”

God instructed Elijah to go out of the cave and stand on the mountainside. God sent a windstorm. Then He sent n earthquake. Next He sent a fire. Then God spoke to Elijah in a soft, gentle whisper. He asks Elijah the same question again: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah gave the same answer.

Do you know what God did? He gave Elijah work to do. He instructed Elijah to go and anoint three people for special ministries He had for them. As Elijah obeyed God, he stopped thinking about himself and he stopped feeling sorry for himself; he stopped feeling depressed.

Reasons for Elijah’s Depression

  1. Running Away

Ask: “Why do you think Elijah ran away?” (Allow discussion.)

He was afraid of the queen who wanted to kill him, and he felt he was alone in his service for God. He thought he could run and hide from his problems. All of us have problems from time to time. When we do, we can either hide, sulking and feeling sorry for ourselves as Elijah did, or we can do something to help solve our problems.

  1. Fatigue

Elijah was very tired—fatigued. Fatigue is a weariness or exhaustion that leaves you with very little energy. It can cause us to be discouraged. If we stay up too late at night, we do not get the rest our bodies need. The next day we may be irritable or depressed; it may seem that everything goes wrong. This is true for people of every age. A rested person can usually cope with disappointment or an unhappy experience, but a tired person is easily upset.

  1. Hunger

The same is true of a hungry person. Elijah had not had enough to eat or drink. He was really hungry. God made our bodies to need food and water. When our body does not get fed, or when it is fed the wrong kinds of foods, we can get upset easily

God knew Elijah needed rest and food. After Elijah rested, God sent an angel to him with food and water. Elijah rested again, and God sent more food. If you are having a bad day, be sure you eat properly and get your rest. You may be surprised at how much better things will seem then.

  1. Self-Pity

Ask: “Can you think of another reason why Elijah was depressed?” (Allow responses.)

He started feeling sorry for himself. It is true that things were bad for Elijah. On some days things will be bad for us too, but feeling sorry for ourselves will not help.

Ask: “How can we keep from feeling sorry for ourselves when things do not go the way we want?” (Allow discussion.)

There are some things we can do. First, we need to think about the good things that have happened to us. Then we need to get busy doing something so we do not have time to think about ourselves. Working for God by doing something helpful for others will help take our minds off our troubles. Thinking about our troubles all the time will only make them worse. God knew Elijah needed to be rest, so He gave him a job to do.

  1. Failure to Trust God

Probably the biggest reason Elijah became depressed and discouraged was because he failed to trust God. We should always trust God because He knows everything that happens to us. He loves us and cares when things go wrong. We can trust God to help us through hard times and work things out for our good in the end.

The Bible says we should not worry about where we will get the things we need. God knows all about our needs. (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 6:25–34.) God provides food for the birds to eat, even though they are not as valuable as people. He makes the flowers beautiful even though they will quickly wilt and die. God loves you more than the birds and flowers. He knows what we need and will provide us with food, clothes, and a place to live.

Our Responsibility

Ask: “What does God require from us?” (Have a student read Matthew 6:33 again.)

If we put God first in our lives and live the way He wants, He will meet our needs. Our memory verse reminds us of this. (Recite together Romans 8:28.)

The Bible tells us everything will work out for good in the end, but there is a requirement for this promise. (Recite the verse again, stressing the last five words.)

If we love and obey God we can trust that whatever happens in our lives, He will help us through it. He knows what is best for us. We can be confident that He has a plan for our lives.

Accepting God’s Word

We learned in our last study that love is more than just words—it is shown in our actions. If you really love God, you will serve Him faithfully. Then He will make hard times in your life turn out for the best in the end, no matter how bad things may seem for a time.

New Perspective 

It was my distinct privilege in February 2010 to move among the Somalis of Kenya and Djibouti. I had studied about them, read newspaper reports about them and their home country of Somalia, and talked to people who had worked among them. I had stereotyped them as pirates, violent thieves and thugs who always carried AK-47s, or Islamic extremists who dragged American soldiers through the streets of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, as throngs cheered.

As you walk with me through their villages and experience their gracious reception, you will understand why my Somali stereotype was completely shattered. Visiting with them under a shade tree in their compounds, posing with them for pictures, drinking tea with them in their restaurants, and praying with a small group of Somali Christians changed my heart and perspective of these proud people.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Somali Teens 

1. Teens to develop their God-given talents,
2. Find a believer with whom they can become good friends,
3. Open their minds to knowledge and biblical truth.

Prayer Promise

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Remember: WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

Memory verse: Romans 8:28
”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

1. Life is not fair. A person will have troubles throughout life.
2. I will be patient when trouble comes, knowing that God is shaping my life.
3. God has a plan. It is my privilege to play a part in fulfilling it.

Pray for Somali teens.

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Study 12 | Come Holy Spirit/Born Again | africaatts.org/go-teach

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