Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read today wraps up the painful journey of Job. The opening activity allows students to try to guess what someone wrote down on an index card in answering the question, “Does anyone know…?” The discussion questions allow students to see the final part of Job’s story and ask how people grow through suffering. The closing activity asks students to write a letter to their future selves. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: “Does Anyone Know . . .?” (10 minutes)
Begin by having your group sitting in a circle (or multiple circles if you have a large group). Give each person a 3x5 index card and a pen or pencil. Tell the group that you are going to say, “Does anyone know . . .,” and they are to finish that sentence with something they know about. For example, students might be interested in sports trivia, so they would write “the batting average of Babe Ruth.” Give the group a minute or two to write their answers; then collect all the cards back and put them in a hat or bowl.
Choose someone to go first and have that person grab a card and read it out loud. If you have students that are online, you can read the card for them. If the entire group is online, have members private message the group leader their answers, and that leader will write down the answers on separate pieces of paper. After the first student has read the “Does anyone know . . .” clue, that student has three guesses to try to figure out who wrote it. The game continues until all the clue cards have been used. If students don’t guess correctly, the students who wrote the cards can reveal themselves.
Transition by praying for your group as you enter into the Bible study and the conclusion of the story of Job.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today wraps up the story of Job. Job is humbled, and he celebrates a new life and a new hope even with his extreme suffering and loss. As we read these final verses from the book of Job, ask students to think about Job’s answer to God. Is he relieved the pain is over, or is he still questioning why the pain had to be so great in the first place?
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- How did the Job of today’s scripture compare to that of the one that seemed broken while hearing God’s response from the whirlwind?
- What do you think Job’s tone sounded like in these verses? Relieved? Saddened? Something else?
- Job says in verse 5b, “but now my eye sees you.” Why do you think it was important for Job to name that sense of sight after all of these experiences? After all, Job was faithful the entire time. (After students answer, remind them that Jesus often used the phrase “those with ears should hear” – Likewise, the first time that we encounter God or learn about Jesus or the Holy Spirit, it is probably going to be because we will hear someone telling their story. We do have chances to see God, but they are certainly rarer than our chances to hear about God.
- Do you remember a time you felt God’s presence or saw God at work in the world? Explain how that made you feel? What happened?
- Job goes on to say in verse 6, “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” What does this mean, and why do you think Job says this? (Use a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia for the significance of repentance with dust or ashes!)
- God never leaves Job’s side; however, it sometimes does feel like God is not with us. Are there ways that we can remind ourselves of God’s presence even when God does not feel close? Are there ways that others can remind us of God’s presence?
- Job needed some time to heal after enduring the suffering and pain in this story. Do you think that God helps with this healing? How?
- What is restored in Job’s life in verses 10-17? Do you think this makes up for the suffering Job had to endure? Why or why not?
- When we suffer, sometimes what was lost is not restored to us. Why do you think the author of the Book of Job ended the story this way? What does it say about a person’s character or faith if they maintain their love for God even in times of loss or suffering?
- Do you think Job held a grudge against God even after God restored Job’s fortunes? Do you think he was still considered “blameless and upright?”
- How would you handle having the same things taken from you that were taken from Job? (Family, health, wealth, etc.) In your opinion, is there a value to suffering? What would the world look like if people never suffered?
- What are some of the ways that you have seen suffering in our local community or in your own life? Are there ways that we can help with that suffering, to act like the brothers and sisters in verse 42:11 (showing sympathy, comforting, and sharing meals and money)?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Find a large enough space where students can spend some time alone. If the weather is nice, consider going outside. If that’s not possible, find a space where students can be comfortable but far enough away that they have a little bit of privacy.
Tell your students that they will have ten to fifteen minutes to write a letter to their future self who is the midst of suffering. In this letter, they’ll want to add verses and/or stories from the Bible that will help them walk through this time of suffering. If you have students who write quickly, invite them to write two letters: one for their future self and one for someone they know who is suffering. Encourage them to take their time and take this time seriously. After everyone has come back together, end with these follow-up questions.
- How did it feel to write a letter to your future self?
- How did it feel knowing that one day you’ll have to deal with suffering?
- What advice did you give yourself? (Note – students shouldn’t have to share if they don’t feel comfortable sharing.)
- What advice did you give your friend who is dealing with suffering right now?
- How can we allow God to work through us now that our eyes are open to see the goodness of who God really is?
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Pens or pencils
- 3x5 index cards
- Sheet of paper (1 per person)
- Envelope (1 per person)
- Bibles (1 per person)