Small Group Curriculum

Learning to Embrace Grief and Loss

06.14.20 | Sermon Series: Whole-Hearted

 
 

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying Job 1–2 and 42:7–9. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | To grow, I need to embrace grief and loss and surrender to my limits. 

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

A Choice

Death and loss are non-negotiable. They can’t be avoided in a fallen, broken world. Eventually, we all lose our youthfulness, dreams, routines and stability. Most of us experience tragic loss in the death of a loved one, a breakup, losing a job, a friends’ betrayal. We grieve our limits. We lose our wrong ideas about God and the Church, along with mistaken ideas about what life is really like in God’s family.1

We have a choice to make in responding to these deaths: Will we let them crush us, or will we allow Christ to “open us up to new possibilities and depths of transformation”?2 For this to happen, we must come to grips with the reality that we have limits and that there’s loss in life.

Q: How can having limits be a blessing?

 

deeper dive

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

E M B R A C I N G
G R I E F
A N D  L O S S

The Bible tells us there is a time for everything in life (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8). “Everything” includes grieving and losing.

Q: Have someone read Job 1–2. Have you ever blamed (or wanted to blame) God for doing wrong? What happened?

Q: Restate Satan’s accusation in your own words. What is he telling God?

Despite his great suffering, Job never curses God and remains faithful to Him. Job’s three friends mistakenly assume Job sinned and is therefore being punished by God.

Q: Describe someone you know who has suffered and grieved well.

Q: 1 Peter 1:6–7 says suffering proves our faith to be real. How does it do that

Q: Have someone read Job 42:7–9. How does Job show humility in his response to his friends, who were careless and insensitive toward him?

 
 

reflection and next steps

Select 2-3 questions from this section to answer.

D R O P P I N G
O U R
D E F E N S I V E
S H I E L D S

Early in life, we learn defensive methods to shield us from pain and loss. That may be helpful for a developing child, but it can become problematic as an adult. Our defensive methods keep us from the pain we need to turn toward in order to grow up spiritually and emotionally.3

Q: How does shielding yourself from pain reveal immaturity? How does turning toward it reveal maturity?

F I V E
S TA G E S
O F   B I B L I C A L
G R I E V I N G

There is a way to grieve well. Job models for us five phases of biblical grieving:

  1. Pay attention to your emotions. Job was brutally honest with God. He wrestled. He doubted. He wept. He turned to his pain and confronted it with God.
  2. Wait in the confusing in-between. Job didn’t expect quick answers or solutions to his situation. Job’s friends made the mistake of trying to fix him because they thought they understood God.

  3. Embrace your limits. Job understood that life wasn’t all about him. God is the center of the universe, not us.

  4. Climb the ladder of humility. Job chose the path of humility. Being a mature disciple of Jesus means following Him in humility (Philippians 2:1–11).

  5. Let the old birth the new . . . in His time. The deaths Job experienced expanded his soul for God, and the end of his story was blessing. “The central message of Christ is that suffering and death bring resurrection and transformation.”4

Q: What’s one thing you can do this week to pay attention to your emotions?

 

COMMENTARY

The Accuser Satan act as the accuser of God’s people, which is illustrated in Job. “The Accuser insinuates that Job’s allegiance is hypocritical (v. 9). If only God would remove the protective hedge he has placed about Job (v. 10), this ‘devout’ servant would certainly curse God to his face. The attack is on God through Job, and the only way the Accuser can be proven false is through Job.”5

God's Sovereignty “The fact that Satan has to ask permission to test Job (see also 2:6) indicates that the extent of his authority falls ultimately under the sovereign governance of God—something that Job also refers to, but without knowledge of or reference to the heavenly dialogue and its relation to his troubles (1:21; 2:10).”6

The Ladder of Humility Peter Scazzero has adapted St. Benedict’s Ladder of Humility into eight steps:

  1. Fear of God and mindfulness of Him.

  2. Doing God’s will (not our own or other people’s).

  3. Willing to subject ourselves to the direction of others.

  4. Patient to accept the difficulty of others.

  5. Radical honesty to others about our weaknesses/faults.

  6. Deeply aware of being “chief of all sinners.”

  7. Speaking less.

  8. Transformed into the love of God.7


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ENDNOTES:

  1. Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature, updated ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 118–119.
  2. Ibid., 117–118.
  3. Ibid., 124.
  4. Ibid., 136.
  5. Elmer B. Smick, “Job,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles–Job (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 714.
  6. Ibid., 875.
  7. Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature, updated ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 134–135.