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Through The Darkness: Series Overview
Have you ever turned on the news only to wish you hadn’t? Or answered a phone call only to wish you could un-hear the news on the other end? Whether it’s a global disaster, a school shooting, our parents’ divorce, or the death of a friend, there’s nothing fun about tragedy. It can make us feel like we’re walking around in total darkness—where nothing seems quite right and there are more questions than answers. What do we say? What do we do? What happens next? And, how long will it take before things go back to normal? At some point, we‘ll all find ourselves in or around a tragedy, but being there doesn’t mean we have to stay there. There’s a way through the darkness to the other side, to healing—and we’ll get there by trusting the One who is leading us.
Through The Darkness: Week 1 July 9 Discussion Questions
SCRIPTURE When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:33-36 NIV).
BOTTOM LINE: Before you can heal, you have to feel.
SUMMARY We’re all going to find ourselves facing tragedy at some point during our lives. We’re all going to walk through seasons of darkness. And when we do, it’s important to know how to respond. While most of us are taught what to do with the good things in life, very few of us are taught what to do in the face of tragedy. And because of that, we often find ourselves covering it up, lashing out, or ignoring it all together. But what if there was a better way to deal with tragedy? The good new is that there is, and it’s found in the Bible. The Bible not only shares stories of people just like us facing tragedy, but also shows us how to face it and move toward healing. This week we’ll take a look at how Jesus walked with and responded to someone going through a serious tragedy. Through that story we’ll discover that the first step toward healing is acknowledging our feelings.
Through The Darkness: Week 2 July 16 Discussion Questions
SCRIPTURE Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16 NIV).
BOTTOM LINE: When it comes to tragedy, be a friend not a fixer.
SUMMARY When it comes to tragedy, there’s often a ripple effect. Some people are directly impacted by a tragic event or circumstance, and the ripples of that tragedy impact those around them. Being caught in the ripples of someone going through the darkness can be difficult and confusing. It can leave you feeling incredibly helpless, wondering what to say, what to do, and how to best be a friend to them in the midst of their darkness. Ruth, a woman who walked alongside a friend in the midst of terrible tragedy, gives us a great example to follow in the Old Testament. As we watch how she walked with a friend through the darkness, we’ll see that sometimes the key to responding to the ripples of tragedy isn’t really about fixing the problem, but sitting with them in the midst of it instead.
Through The Darkness: Week 3 July 23 Discussion Questions
SCRIPTURE What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all. (Romans 8:31-32a NIV).
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).
BOTTOM LINE: Nothing can pull you from a God who loves you.
SUMMARY Sometimes struggling through the darkness can feel a lot like floating out to sea. We feel hopeless, adrift, disconnected, and out of control. It leaves us looking for anything to hold us steady—an anchor to keep us from getting lost in the sea of darkness. And while we might hope that anchor would be God, sometimes tragedy leaves us wondering if God is even with us anymore. The apostle Paul had reason to feel the very same way. He faced hardship, suffering, and loss throughout his life and ministry, yet somehow managed to never lose his anchor of faith in God. As we look at what Paul tells us about finding faith in the midst of the darkness, we’ll see that there’s no amount of tragedy that can separate us from the God who loved us enough to experience it here on Earth alongside us.