[NOTE: Throughout the text, you will see bracketed text insertions that begin with “Discussion”. These are suggested discussion questions for small group leaders, who would like to review these topics in an interactive group setting.]
[Discussion: What are some common sources of anxiety during this trial?]
Maybe the virus has attacked you or someone close. Perhaps, you can’t work, are not earning income, and have debts to pay. Maybe, you are simply scared about the virus affecting you or yours.
These are times of worry and anxiety, but this isn’t anything new. Most of Biblical history is about such times. The flood wiped out almost all of humanity, Jews were slaves in Egypt for 400 years, and later exiled to Babylon for 70 years.
God’s people haven’t been spared on an individual level either.
[Discussion: Can you think of examples when Biblical figures were in great anxiety?]
One of Adam’s kids killed the other and things didn’t get any better from there on out. Hebrews 11:37 describes various trials of believers throughout history: They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated. Doesn’t sound like fun, and let’s not forget about Jesus’s himself. His lived a life of difficulty, only to be tortured and crucified.
Looking back at these guys, I’m even ashamed of some of the things that get me worrying and anxious, as they are in no way comparable, and I don’t think most of you are in immediate danger of being sawn in two either. So, since in general we have lived lives of such abundant blessing, I want to look at two examples to which we can perhaps relate better and see what we can learn and apply to our present trials.
In Genesis 30, Rachel was so anxious to have a child that she told her husband, Jacob, to give her children or she would? die. That’s quite extreme!
In Esther 4, Jews were panicked about a royal decree allowing them to be massacred. Queen Esther was anxious since she was planning to risk her life for her people.
Stay tuned for part 3.
Read part 1 here