イエスは私と共にいる : 落ち込んでいるとき {パート2} from Mustard Seed Osaka on Vimeo.

Small Group Lesson

Depression, hardships, or weaknesses come and go as temporary seasons of trial. But many people live with a hardship that will never end until our bodies and this world are renewed by God in heaven. Paul too suffered from an continual hardship, which he referred to as a "thorn" in his flesh.  

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

Many of us suffer from thorns in our flesh that do not go away (depression, sickness, physical ailment, challenging relationship, debilitating debt, death of a loved one, etc.). What is a thorn in your life? How does this threaten to steal your joy and hope in God?  

It is good to ask God to help us and heal thorns in our life. However, sometimes God answers our prayer, "No" or "Not right now." Paul and even Jesus experienced God's loving, "No." How have you felt when God answered your prayers with a "no"?  

God may say "No" in order to show us that he is enough for us. Thorns, pains, and weaknesses are used by God to lead us to run to God and lean on his strength. Nevertheless, our sinful hearts are prone to be dissatisfied in God and desire relief or healing more than God; this is idolatry. When you are feeling tempted how would you finish this sentence: "If only __________ then I would be happy." 

In everyday life, do you prioritize physical, mental, or social health more than a spiritually healthy relationship with God? What are the specific indicators in your life?  

God promises to work all things together for our good. He even uses our hardships to bring comfort to others.  

Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

What is a painful experience that you might be able to use help bring God's comfort to others? How might you do this?