Needle & Haystack – Session 2 – All Hope is Gone (Job)

Introduction: This session is part of a 4 part series titled ‘Needle & Haystack’ about how to find God when things are tough which take young people on a journey. These were originally written for a residential weekend and so would work well under a residential context. You could also use them for 4 consecutive weeks. 

Items Needed: Flipchart, pens, bibles, YouTube Job Story – http://youtu.be/WisOPTRoM5U, Small Group Studies (Click to download), Book – Inside out Worship – Heart of Worship files volume 2 – Song – Tim Hughes & 29th Chapter – Saviour (if you can have words too that would help)

Explain: Last night we started by looking at the idea that sometimes God can seem like He’s mile away from us and that sometimes we can really struggle in our search for Him. We thought about how sometimes seeking God is like looking for a needle in a haystack…It’s not impossible but requires time and commitment from us.

This morning we’re going to explore a character in the bible who had a lot of stuff go on and didn’t hear from God until a while after it had happened but even though there was a lot of bad things happening in his life he stuck with God.

This man’s name was Job…who’s heard of him?

Brainstorm: Get the group to brainstorm everything they already know about Job (this may be a lot or very little!)

Explain: Job is a book in the Old Testament and it revolves around the story of this character called ‘Job’ who was a man who had a lot…he had 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7 thousand sheep, 3 thousand camels, 5 hundred yoke of Oxen and 500 donkeys and lots of servants.

On top of that we’re told that Job was blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil and so was pretty perfect.

Let’s have a look at his story

Video Clip: Job with Stick Figures – YouTube – http://youtu.be/WisOPTRoM5U (You might need to watch a couple of times)

Ask: What did you think about that story? (There will probably be young people who comment on it not making sense for God to let it happen etc.)

Explain: Job was God’s perfect example of how a human should be and the story tells us that God was pleased with Job to the point where he was pretty certain that Job would stick with him no matter what.

Whilst we may not fully be able to get our heads around the concept of God allowing Satan to take away everything that Job has we need to look beyond that and look at Job as a man who lost everything but stuck with, and trusted God…if all that happened to us we’d feel like all hope was gone…we’d probably feel like everything had gone wrong. If we were a Christian we’d probably end up going 1 of 2 ways. We’d either cry to God in our moment of desperation and in having nothing left have to focus and trust fully in Him or we’d choose to blame God and walk away.

Small Groups: Get the group to split into smaller groups and get them to look at the bible passages and questions.

Bring the groups back together

Feedback: Get the groups to feedback from their discussions.

Explain: Sometimes it feels like everything goes wrong and that in the time when we need God he feels far away. Things might happen that we simply can’t explain we can feel like we have no hope at that very moment in time but the story of Job teaches us that no matter how bad we feel like things are it is possible to cling to God and to trust Him.

It teaches us that God is there and that he answers even if we can’t feel Him…the initial reactions of Job’s friends teach us how we can help those going through a tough time. We don’t need to share words or try and explain things…sometimes the best thing we can do is go, be with them and simply sit amongst the ashes.

Worship: Last night I introduced the idea that a lot of the Psalms are people struggling and in fact a third of the Psalms are what we’d call ‘Lament’ Psalms which means people crying out but all of these Psalms follow a fairly standard pattern.

They start off with the Psalmist expressing his pain to God (in often) brutally honest ways but then eventually comes around to glorifying God…it’s almost like in expressing their pain they also express the fact that they are going to God because they know He is in control.

The verse I read last night was…

My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me? So far from the words of my groaning? My God I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night I find no rest

and if we look at the Psalm it continues…

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One. You are the praise of Israel. In you our ancestors put their trust, they trusted you and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved, in you they trusted and were not disappointed (Psalm 22: 1-5)

Read: Book: Inside Out Worship (Heart of Worship files volume 2) – Tim Hughes talking about ‘When The Tears Fall’ then play either ‘When the tears fall’ or ‘Saviour’ by Tim Hughes & 29th Chapter with words on screen.

Pray to finish