Even though Jesus died for a purpose, it still broke God’s heart. Thus, God knows how we feel when we lose someone close to us. In those times, God comforts us Himself.
The Discussion Starter:
Logan Henderson isn’t exactly a household name, but in the Spring of 2013, he was at the center of a viral video entitled “The Sky Angel Cowboy.” Logan lives on a farm in central Nebraska, and listens to one of the few radio stations that broadcasts in his area: the Christian station on the Sky Angel Network. The original call was made in 2007.
During one of the shows, Logan called in to speak with the DJ about an upsetting event that had just transpired in his life, and ended up sharing a fairly profound message with listeners. His message was a tender one, and since that night, hundreds of thousands of folks have heard the encouraging message from the Sky Angel Cowboy.
The clip can be accessed online at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juEACGmrXC8
Even if you didn’t grow up on a farm, even if you’ve never owned a pet, it’s still pretty easy to connect with Logan, isn’t it? I mean, here’s this young little guy who lost one of his favorite calves on the farm, and in the midst of that upsetting event, God spoke to him. That’s encouragement right there! Logan’s message to the DJ – and ultimately you and me – is that God understands the brokenhearted. God is close to us always, but especially when we hurt. That’s because God’s been there. He’s hurt, too. He longs to comfort us with truth and love when we need it most. Let’s talk about that for the next few minutes as we explore God’s Word.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite pet we’ve ever owned.
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think people get so attached to their pets?
- ASK A FEW: Logan said through tears that he went out and “put the calf down myself.” What does that mean? Could you have done that?
- ASK A FEW: When Logan was telling the DJ that the calf was special, he said that God spoke to him and had this to say: “My Son was special” and that “He died for a purpose.” Of course, this refers to Jesus, but what was the purpose He died for?
- ASK A FEW: Granted, none of us have probably ever compared Jesus with a helpless calf, but Logan said that the calf was close to him just like God was close to Jesus. If that’s the case, then why would God allow Jesus to die?
- ASK A FEW: Logan wanted everyone to know that God understands when we lose someone close to us. Why is it that God can relate to our hurt and suffering in that moment?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think God feels when we hurt? How do you know?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: This Bible passage opens with the fact that God keeps His eyes on us. Is that a comforting/good thing…or a scary/bad thing? Why?
ASK A FEW: What does the Bible say God does when the righteous cry out for help (in verse 17)? Why do you think God does that?
ASK A FEW: Verse 18 talks about those who are “brokenhearted” and “crushed in spirit.” Have you ever been there? Can you share about it?
ASK A FEW: Did God speak to you and/or encourage you somehow, like He did with Logan? Could you share that?
ASK A FEW: The good news according to verse 22 is that no one who takes refuge in God will be condemned. What are some of the ways in which God shelters us, provides for us, or comforts us when we are hurting?
ASK A FEW: Why do you think God offers us His presence when we are hurting? Why does He seem to care so much?
ASK A FEW: Let’s talk about purpose again real quick. Do you think God allows us to go through heartbreak or sorrow sometimes just so we will draw close to Him? Why or why not?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: Knowing how God reacts to our suffering, our heartbreak, and our struggles, what will you do the next time you’re facing these difficult circumstances?
Psalm 34:15-22 (NIV)
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
We took a few moments to watch the story of Logan the Sky Angel Cowboy, and it was definitely a touching story. I mean, who doesn’t get a little worked up hearing his broken voice and his sniffles?
But, that little guy – in the midst of his brokenhearted state – actually tried to give all of the radio station’s listeners some great advice. He basically said, “When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, God suffered, too. Jesus was very special to God and thus, God knows what it’s like to suffer. Better yet, God is willing to comfort us when we suffer.”
If you’re like me – and I know you are – then you have an occasional upset now and then. We might face some bad news, a death in the family, some tragedy, or the loss of a relationship. It’s good to know that Psalms declares that God is close to the brokenhearted.
Our God doesn’t just leave us to figure out our struggle and our upsets. He draws close to us and comforts us.
He’s able to do that because, as Logan said, He suffered when Jesus died on the cross. It may sound strange for a moment, but the more you reflect on it, the more you realize that it’s pretty cool that our God has suffered. He knows how it feels. And He loves us enough to join us in our sorrows.
I want you to be encouraged by that, but I also want us to take a moment to be a God-sent source of encouragement for someone else in here this evening. I’d like to invite anyone who’s hurting right now for any reason to stand up and come to the front. We’re not going to embarrass you in any way; we’re not even going to ask you what you’re facing, though you can share if you want to. If that’s you, I invite you to step forward so your friends can gather around you in prayer and support you. Let’s take the next few moments to do this, and then I’ll close in prayer. But just know that you can always hang around after we pray to speak with one of our adult leaders.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith