Read Chapter 13 from Fearless and we'll discuss the questions below.
Memory Verse: “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:3
God you are in control of all things. Help us to hear Your voice above the clamor of bad news reports, a diagnosis that we don’t want to receive, and anything else that tends shatter our peace. Grant us serenity, courage, and wisdom so that we are able to respond to You more fully. In the name of Your Son Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer. Amen
This week we’ll explore one of the most prevalent fears around – the fear of global calamity. We hear about it on the news and online. Our friends and neighbors warn us of the latest disaster rumors. Life is a dangerous endeavor. We pass our days in the shadows of ominous realities. But God has diagnosed the pain of the world and written the book on its treatment. We can trust Him.
Pharmaceutical companies have invaded our nightly entertainment with their promises of renewed vitality, but they also warn against potential tragedy. There is something about that merger of happy faces with voice-over advisories of paralysis that just doesn’t work.
Question #1 - Are there paradoxes you see in life, or in the media, that bother you?
Sitting on the Mount of Olives, Jesus issued a “buckle your seat belt, no kidding, life can be fatal to your health” warning. He wanted his followers to know what they were facing, because life with Christ is not necessarily an easy journey. Christ promised He would be there for us on the way, though, and His burden is light because we get to walk step-by-step with Him. But He began His lecture with the unexpected words, “Watch out that no one deceives you.”
Question #2 - When you think of global disaster, do you fear being deceived? Why do you think Jesus mentioned deception first in His description of the end of the world?
Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph. Christians should live somewhere between Pollyanna and Chicken Little, between blind denial and blatant panic. This world needs levelheaded, clear-thinking, and still-believing followers of Christ who will bring others to focus on God and His grace in a time of tragedy.
Question #3 - How does false or empty optimism hurt you more than a realistic evaluation of your situation? “The church” in America has a reputation for expecting Christians to always be positive, but Jesus was brutally honest in His description of terrible things to come. How did we lose that realistic perspective, and why?
The Titanic sank because contractors settled for cheap rivets and planned poorly. Rivets are the glue that hold the steel plates together. Facing a shortage of quality bolts, the builders used substandard ones that popped their heads upon impact with the iceberg. Because of this shortsighted construction, hundreds of people lost their lives in a matter of minutes in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Question #4 - How sturdy are the bolts of your belief? Take a look at what’s happening around the globe. Do you think you could handle the type of persecution that Christians face around the world?
All things, big and small, flow out of the purpose of God and serve His good will. When the world appears to be out of control, it isn’t. We can trust that God is holy, good, loving, and in control. Our vision is limited: what looks like terror might actually be triumph. What looks like heartbreak might actually be healing. We must trust that God is who He says He is.
Question #5 - How can you remind yourself that God is on control?
Yes, sometimes life stinks. But it won’t forever. As one of Max Lucado's friends likes to say, “Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” Write a prayer about the things that are not working out in your everyday life today. Take time each day this week to pray the prayer you wrote, and trust God to take care of the concerns you bring to Him.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more that all we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21