Isaiah 49:8-16 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar– some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan." Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
Psalm 42:5-6 (NIV) Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar.
Isaiah 49:15 (NIV) "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!"
Psalm 56:8 (MSG) You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
Isaiah 49:16 (NIV) "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."
Genesis 50:20 (MSG) Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people.
John 20:27 (MSG) Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe."
Isaiah 49:16 (NIV) "…your walls are ever before me."
Romans 12:2 (NIV) Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (NCV) We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.
Isaiah 66:12-13 (NCV) This is what the LORD says: Like babies you will be nursed and held in my arms and bounced on my knees. I will comfort you as a mother comforts her child. You will be comforted.
Look up the word “despondent.” What synonyms come up? Which of those words do you most identify with when you’re hurting?
Thinking back to a time when you felt despondent, how did you see God respond to you? Look at each of the three points Pastor Shane made about how God responds to a despondent heart – in what way can you recognize God’s response to your pain in each of these statements?
In the section “What does God say?”, spend some time as a small group talking about the three “I” statements under point #1. Do you confidently agree that God feels this way about you? How do you know he does? What causes you to think he doesn’t? Be transparent together and pray together to see God as the tender, loving father that he tells us he is and not let circumstances, world views, or past history distort our view of him.
Last Sunday Pastor Kevin challenged us to compare God’s track record with the world’s. This week Pastor Shane is challenging us in a similar way in point #2. Reflect on the verses from that point and these additional passages: 1 Samuel 17:37, Exodus 4:10-12. Write down specific things God has done for you. Take time in prayer to thank God for coming through time after time after time! Praise him because he is faithful and trustworthy.
Under point #3, consider the three ways you can “practice who you are.” Which of these do you need to make a concerted effort to address? Who will you ask to pray for you and encourage you as you make an effort to grow in this area?
Elementary families – Today we began a new series in our classroom focusing on the big idea of Hope. For the month of April, we’ll teach that hope is believing trouble won’t last forever. Ask your children who was celebrated by a large crowd. (Jesus) What animal did he ride on? (Donkey) God knew we would need hope that only Jesus can bring. We will celebrate our bottom line all month long: Jesus came to give us hope.