2021-11-3 Emotionally Healthy Youth | Journey Through the Wall
SMALL GROUP MATERIAL
Small Group Questions:
- In this season of your life, what is the greatest obstacle that you face?
- If you have been through a ‘Wall”, briefly share how it impacted you and your view of God.
- The Wall Abraham faced gave him a revelation of God that would change him and his relationship with God forever. He came to know God as Provider in even the most desperate of situations. How might this encourage you in any current Walls you are facing?
- What things or people are you rooting your identity in that God may want to “dig up” so that your identity may be “replanted” in him?
- There are good things that can come on the other side of the wall. Do you have any personal experience with that?
Journey Through the Wall
THE MAIN POINT
Every follower of Jesus at some point will confront a wall. Emotionally healthy spirituality requires that you go through the pain of the wall with the help of God, which radically transforms our character and faith.
Genesis 22:1-12, Romans 5:3-5
For most of us, “The Wall” appears through a crisis that turns our world upside down. It may be through our parents getting divorced, the death of a relative or friend, moving to a new city or school, a bad church experience, a betrayal, a shattered dream, a car accident, spiritual dryness, or a loss of joy in our relationship with God. We question ourselves, God, and the church. We discover for the first time that our faith does not appear to “work.” We have more questions than answers and feel that our faith is on the line. We don’t know where God is, what he is doing, where he is going, or when this will be over. “The Wall” is not simply a one-time event that we pass through but appears to be something that appears often through a life-long ongoing relationship with God. In our scripture today, Abraham experiences a wall moment. Abraham had been waiting at the wall of infertility for 25 years before the birth of his first child with his wife, Sarah. God now commands Abraham to sacrifice his long-awaited son Issac on the altar. Abraham appears to have gone through numerous walls on his journey with God. Why? Thomas Merton explains, “Unintentionally and unknowingly we fall back into imperfections. Bad habits are like living roots that return. These roots must be dug away and cleared from the garden of our soul. This requires the direct intervention ofGod.” Abraham began to root his identity in his son Issac, and God challenged him to dig away those roots and clear the way for his identity to be rooted in God again.
As you prepare the core of the message using personal stories and questions keep in mind these points:
- Growth in maturity in faith requires going through walls. It is going through walls that we develop perseverance character and hope. (Romans 5:3-5)
- Walls can sometimes be God re-prioritizing our life (like Abraham) or can sometimes be moments in which God uses to speak to us. Regardless, the outcome of going through the wall, being faithful to God is the same; it radically transforms our character and faith.
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is not about holding everything together and faking our way through the walls of life. EHS admits that: “I am hurt, I am angry, I am very sad, I don’t know what God is doing, I am bewildered”.
- Walls can sometimes last months or years. Walls are not failing a test, your friend annoying you, or a crying baby on a plane. Walls are trials that cause us to rely on God’s strength and help because we know we can’t go through them alone. Walls often cleanse our pride, arrogance, self-reliance and admit that we need God. (James 1:2-4)
- On the other side of the wall we experience a few things:
- Our pride is broken and we have a greater level of love for others.
- We judge people less and are offended less easily, as we are secure in the love of God.
- We have a greater appreciation for the Mystery of God; we realize we don’t know everything and have to rely on God.
- We have a deeper ability to wait for God; patience and perseverance grows. Instant gratification is not our priority.
- We have a greater detachment from the things of the world. We are cut off from whom we think ought to be, or what we need to have, or what we need to do. We are satisfied with God. He is enough.
As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:
- The first step of “The Wall” is facing it, and acknowledging it.
- Going through walls are not solo endeavours. Do it with people you trust.
- There is another side of the wall, we have hope for the future because of Jesus.
- Walls develop character and perseverance. Maybe rather than blaming God for walls, ask what good things may come from it.