The Job ParadoxWhen have you missed an opportunity to follow God’s guidance during a difficult time?
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Get Some Perspective
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Greg, an accomplished surfer, was out in some large surf one day and wound up wiping out and getting
spun around by a powerful wave. Once he got past the tumbling motion, Greg put his feet on the
sand and pushed up toward the surface. He immediately got a nasty surprise as his head smacked against
something hard. Only discipline and years of surfing experience kept him from panicking—and perhaps
drowning. Greg suppressed his fear and took in his surroundings. The huge wave had swept him into a
small, underwater cave. When he pushed off from the bottom, he had struck his head against the cave’s
ceiling. Once Greg saw the big picture and realized his situation, he was able swim out through the
mouth of the cave and make his way up to the surface.
Our perspective can be small and limited by our individual experiences, our fears, and a lack of knowledge
of the future. But God is “omniscient,” which means that He has the capacity to know all things
in the past, present, and future. When we trust in God’s promises, believing that He loves us and has a
good purpose for our lives, we see a different—and bigger—point of view. So, do whatever it takes to
get some perspective. That new perspective will allow God to use you to accomplish the good works for
which He created you, the ones He planned even before you were born!
Read: Jeremiah 29:10–14
In this passage, God is speaking to the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. The Israelites are
about to be conquered by their enemies, the Babylonians, and spend the next 70 years in exile. But God
reassures His people that they will return home to Israel, and He will listen to them and prosper them.
1. In this passage, God reveals His character and His love for His people. What comfort and encouragement
do you receive from this passage?
2. What’s your reaction to the promise God makes in verses 12 and 13?
Read: Isaiah 55:8–9 and Proverbs 3:5–6
1. Has there been a time in your life when things “just plain didn’t make sense?” What happened, and
would you say you had a broad perspective on the problem or a limited one?
2. When you’re faced with problems or difficult decisions, do you trust in God completely, or do you
tend to rely on your own judgment? What would help you lean more on God and His wisdom?
Read: Ephesians 2:10
1. How do you feel about the fact that God call you His “handiwork?” (Some translations use the
words “masterpiece” or “workmanship.”)
2. In what ways did Bethany use the loss of her arm as a way to “do good works” for others? What
could you do with your life’s circumstances to positively impact the lives of the people around you?
The Bethany Hamilton Story