This lesson works well with Lesson Two from The BE-Attitudes for Kids.
Preparation: Copy a picture* and then cut it into "puzzle" pieces so that each child in class will have a piece of the picture. (You might also print a copy of the same picture, but do not cut it up.)
Distribute one picture piece to each child. Ask them to describe their piece. Tell them it is part of a bigger picture. Ask them to imagine what the completed picture looks like. Allow them to compare their pieces, but not fit them together just yet.
Today's Be-Attitude is, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" Matthew 5:4 (NIV). The Bible also tells us that ". . . all things work together for good to them that love God. . . " Romans 8:28 (KJV).
Discussion: How do you suppose these two Scriptures make sense in our lives? How can good possibly come from sad events--mourning--in our lives? (Receive answers.)
Read with expression, John 11:1-45, from a child-friendly Bible.
Discussion: Mary and Martha didn't have the full picture of what Jesus was doing. Like the puzzle pieces you are holding that are part of a bigger picture, the sisters only saw a small part of a bigger story--their brother was dead! Why didn't Jesus come to help them? They thought, if he loved them, he would have cared and come right away. Isn't this also what sometimes goes through our minds when God doesn't seem to come through for us in our trials and suffering? We wonder, "Where is God? Does he see my situation? Does God love me? Why doesn't he help me?" We may figure, he must not care about us!
The story of Lazarus reminds us that God has a bigger picture in mind, he is working out a plan that includes the whole world, and yet, we see that Jesus cried. He cried because he understood the sisters' pain. He loved them and knew they were hurting. Even so, he wanted them to know there was an important reason as to why he didn't come to heal Lazarus before he died; he had a more important plan. His way of doing things would bring glory to God and reveal who he was: the giver of life, the Promised Messiah, the Savior who would rise from the dead to defeat our greatest enemy, and overcome eternal death. In this, the sisters learned that all things, even the death of their brother, worked together for good, because they loved God.
God will put the pieces of our lives together to bring him glory, and ultimately will be for our good! Jesus said, "Blessed, or approved by God, are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Our comfort is found in believing that God is in control; he has a better plan for our lives than we do. In fact, our sadness can make us run to God for help, and remind us that our lives here are temporary; our true home is in Heaven. The comfort that Jesus promises is partially for here and now, but ultimately we will be fully comforted when we see God face to face. The Bible says in that day, God will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Prayer: "Dear Jesus, help us to trust you with all the pieces of our lives--the good, the sad, and the difficult days. Help us to trust that you have a bigger plan. Help us to remember that you love us and will work all things for our good. Thank you for promising to comfort us when we mourn. Amen."
Now, would you like to know what the picture looks like? (Have children put their puzzle pieces together or show them a copy of the whole picture and then allow them to see how their piece fits into the bigger picture.)
Let us remember that we see only a part of what God is doing in our lives, but God sees the whole picture and loves us. This is something we can celebrate and be comforted in knowing!
Copyright 2019 Sarah A. Keith
Get all of the BE-Attitudes lesson series, which includes skits, crafts, and games.
(It's a Puzzle, is not part of the original BE-Attitudes for Kids lesson series, but incorporates nicely into Lesson Two.)
*From Unsplash.com and is listed under "children playing."
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