God’s promises in Scripture can bring us hope and comfort even when we are discouraged or cannot see past our hopeless situations.
Revelation 22:1-5 (CEB)
Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always.
Romans 15:4 (CEB)
Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures.
Activity: Spoiler Alert!
Have one person in the group (the Describer) start explaining the plot of a popular book, television show or movie without naming any key words such as the characters’ names or names of places. (Sort of like the party game Taboo.) The rest of the group has to guess what show/book/movie they are trying to describe. (You can also divide into two teams and make it a competition game if time allows.)
Next, pick someone to be the Judge (maybe one of the adult leaders), and if they feel like the Describer uses a key word that gives away the book or movie too easily, then they can yell, “Spoiler Alert!” (like using the buzzer in Taboo), and the Describer has to choose a different show/book/movie to start describing.
If the Describer was thinking of the movie, Star Wars: A New Hope, they might say: “A guy lives on a desert planet with his two droids and his aunt and uncle but he ends up saving the universe and defeating the evil planet-destroying bad guys through his excellent spaceship flying and laser shooting skills.” However, the Judge would yell, “Spoiler Alert!” if the Describer said words like “Tatooine,” “R2-D2,” “C-3PO,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi” or “Luke Skywalker.”
Debrief of Activity
As Christians, we have a “Spoiler Alert” in Scripture in the book of Revelation. Despite the discouragement we might be going through now, we have hope because we know the end of the story: One day, Christ will return and make all things right again and put the world as it should be.
- What are some stories of hope in pop culture—movies, books, video games? (For example, the movie Star Wars: A New Hope is a story of the “underdogs” overcoming huge odds to beat the Empire!) Why do you think people love stories of hope like these?
- When is it the hardest for you to have hope or to picture a better future?
- When you are feeling down or discouraged, what do you usually do to make yourself feel better? Do you ever turn to the Bible for hope?
- Read together our Main Passage from Revelation 22:1-5. What words or images stand out to you from this passage? What excites you about this picture of the future?
- How does it feel knowing that we have a “spoiler” in the Bible through the book of Revelation and we know that Jesus will come back again and make all things right?
- What is something you hope will happen when Jesus comes again and puts the world as it should be?
- Read together Romans 15:4. Are there any Bible verses or stories that you turn to when you need hope or encouragement? What are they?
For Scripture to become a source of hope and encouragement for us, it has to sink deep into our bones! Our challenge for this week is to begin reading the Bible daily. Start out with just reading 5-10 verses a day. You might want to begin by reading one of the Gospels, like Luke or John. Or, you can check out a daily reading plan through the free YouVersion Bible App. Just download the app, go to “Find Plans,” and then you can search for daily reading plans by topics such as “hope” or “anxiety.”
If you are already reading the Bible daily, great job! Take the challenge to the next level and pick a passage of Scripture to memorize. Let it be a source of hope and encouragement to you, even when you don’t have the Bible right in front of you. One passage to start with is Psalm 23. You can even personalize it by adding your name in to the places where it says “my: “The Lord is Jessica’s Shepherd. She lacks nothing.”
Leaders, is there a certain Bible story or passage from Scripture that has helped you through hard times in your life? Maybe a particular verse you memorized as a child has given you hope or encouragement even as an adult. Consider sharing with your group how Scripture has been a source of hope for you even in difficult moments throughout your life. If you have time before your group meets, you can write out or print notecards with your favorite passage on them to pass out to your group. Or you could send handwritten cards out to your group after the session with a note saying, “This verse helps me have hope when I am feeling down. Maybe it will help you too!”