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Faith when Falling

Aim: For each child to respond to evil treatment with exemplified faith

Core Competency: Giving Away My Life

Objectives: The children will

  • Remember that God is in control
  • Trust God to change others' evil for His and their good
  • Allow God to use them for His purposes

Key Verse: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. ( 1 Thess 5:18 )

Story: "Joseph is Sold into Slavery " ( Genesis 37 )

Materials Required:

  • Construction paper, black (21 sheets)
  • Construction paper, green (1 sheet)
  • Construction paper, yellow (1 sheet)
  • Stamps, about 100 assorted
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Marker

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation:Cut a long, skinny triangle across the short end of each of 20 sheets of construction paper, about 6 mm (1/4") deep (see illustration). This results in sheets where one side is normal length (306 mm, or 12") and the other side is slightly shorter (300 mm, or 11 3/4").

Now flip every other sheet, so that the short side alternates on each adjoining page. Place the green sheet on top of the stack, and the yellow sheet on the back (optional). Finally, staple together the end opposite the cuts, to make a book.

If you flip through the pages using the extreme left side, you will see every other page only. If you flip through the pages using the extreme right side, you will see the remaining pages only. This is the "secret" that makes this demonstration work.

Paste half of the stamps into the book on alternate pages only, so that the book appears blank when flipped from the right hand side, but full of stamps when flipped from the left hand side.

On the front (green) side of the book, write "My Life" in large letters with the marker.

From the remaining sheet of black construction paper, cut a strip 100 mm (4") by 225 mm (9") long. Fold 100 mm (4") up and glue the edges to form an envelope with a flap. This will hold the remaining stamps during the presentation.

Lay the "My Life" book, remaining stamps, and envelope on a table just before class.

In Class:Tell the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy, who were arrested in Nazi Germany during World War II for hiding Jews from the death squads. They were placed in a small, crowded room and fed pitiful food. Worst of all, the room was infested with fleas.

In one of Corrie and Betsy's early Bible studies, they read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (read it now). Betsy said, "Corrie, we must thank God for this room." Corrie was indignant. "Why? This room is small and crowded, and it smells!" "Yes," Betsy replied, "But it keeps us warm and dry, and we should thank God."

"We should also thank God for our food," she persisted. Corrie was incredulous. "Why? It smells terrible, tastes worst, and isn't fit for dogs!" "Yes," Betsy replied, "But it keeps us from starving, and we should thank God."

"We should also thank God for the fleas," Betsy suggested. Corrie was now livid. "Fleas? Fleas? They bite me and itch, and I dare you to tell me one good thing these fleas do for us!" "You're right," Betsy allowed, "But I still think we should thank God for the fleas."

And so, each night, the young ladies studied their Bible, prayed, and thanked God for the crowded room, pitiful food, and legions of fleas.

Finally, the camp was liberated, and it occurred to Corrie that no guard had ever searched their room for contraband Bibles or caught them during their long Bible studies. She asked a guard why. "I'd have to be crazy to go into that room!" he asserted vehemently. "That room was infested with fleas!"

And so Corrie learned that her faith had been protected by a legion of God's soldiers - fleas - and she learned at last why God wanted her to be thankful for them.

Ask the children how many "fleas" of evil treatment they endure in their lives. Are they able to thank God for the opportunity to endure hardship serving Him?

Tell the story of Joseph from Genesis 37 . Do they handle the situation as well as Joseph, who determined (as we will see in Genesis 38 ) to do the right thing regardless of the evil deeds of others?

Show the "My Life" book (which represents their lives), and explain that it is empty. Flip through it from the right side so that it appears blank. Set it on the table within easy reach (and in full view of the children).

Hold up several stamps, and explain that these are the events of their lives. As you mention each one, hold up a different stamp, and (after discussing the event) put that stamp in the black envelope. Some events are good - making a new friend, or getting a great math teacher. Others, though, are bad. Perhaps a bully teases them unmercifully at school. Perhaps a best friend become a worst enemy, and now knows their most private secret. Perhaps Mom and Dad fight a lot, and take their frustration out on their children.

Put all of the stamps in the envelope, close the flap, and explain that we cannot always see how these events fit into God's plan. Their seems to be no pattern at all. Since we cannot control these events, we can only control our response. The best response is to thank God for His care, trust Him to turn evil actions into good, and do what is right no matter what. Place the envelop in the back of the book, between the last black page and the yellow cover (being careful not to "flash" the stamped pages).

Promise that when they are older, or perhaps when they reach heaven, they will be able to look back and see God's pattern for their lives. If you like, ask a particularly attentive child to blow hard on the cover of "My Life". Then flip through the book on the left side, showing it to be full of stamps (apparently the stamps you placed in the envelope).

Reassure the children that God loves them, has a plan for their lives, is in complete control, and can be trusted to work good out of evil. Also encourage them to resist evil and to let God use them for good.

Application:Does your life reflect complete confidence in God's ability to stick to His plan? What evil deeds from others do you need to cast on Jesus so that you can concentrate on your own obedience to Him? What keeps you from complete commitment to obedience?

Used: KIDZ 11/98 , KIDZ 10/02

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