Teenagers and God’s goodness
by Deborah Covert, Colorado
I decided that our youth group might benefit from discussing one of God’s character traits – goodness – since many have struggled with the events of the past year. I modified a study plan I had used in a Discovery Bible Study lesson that I facilitated for practice during the module. The passages I used were from Genesis, about God calling his creation “good” and Adam’s aloneness “not good,” and God’s care and provision for Adam and Eve showing that he is “good.” We also looked at the passage in which God expelled them from the garden, and I asked the youth to consider the difficult question of how that passage also shows God’s goodness.
I asked everyone to close their eyes and raise their hand if they have ever questioned God’s goodness. This established a safe way to acknowledge the question. Most, including the adult sponsors, raised their hands.
Then I had them write on one or more sticky notes reasons they, or general reasons why anyone, would question God’s goodness. If the reason was from personal experience, they put an X in the corner. We placed the notes on one side of a white board and one of the adults read them aloud. No names were connected with the notes, so there was no “exposure.” A wide variety of issues showed up, some of them quite serious, and many marked with an X.
Next, we discussed the Bible passages and wrestled through the expelling from the garden. Then we looked at other passages including Gen. 50:20, Psalm 25:8, James 1:17 and Rom. 8:28. Our discussion brought up excellent questions and points from the youth.
I gave a mini sermon on some of the points, including the fact that, because God is good, he sent his son to die for our sins, to atone for what began with Adam and Eve’s sin. We ended listening to a worship song, during which I asked them to reflect and ask God to remind them of ways they have seen his goodness in the past year and to write that on another sticky note and put it on the other side of the white board.
I really felt God at work, and I think it was a powerful, moving time. It seemed like the youth, who have expressed how hard it is to be a Christian right now, processed the discussion well. I am so thankful for God’s leading to modify the lesson I had done with the women in my DBS group, in just such a way that it seemed to really resonate with the youth.