AGE APPROPRIATE: ELEMENTARY AGE (7-11s)
BIG IDEA: WE ALL NEED ENCOURAGING
AIM: The aim of the ‘Dealing with Disappointment’ lesson is to help the children to understand how disappointment can affect us all. We all need encouraging in those moments when we are disheartened.
1. ‘Happy Day’ by Amber Sky Records
2. ‘Super Wonderful’ by Yancy
4. ‘I’m Really Happy’ by Hillsong Kids
1. Dodge the Danger. An outdoor game. Players work in teams and each player must kick a ball around an obstacle course, avoiding the water being squirted with water pistols (by leaders), through the hoops and around the cones to tag the next person. The first team to complete the obstacle course the fastest is the winning team. Application: Just as you avoided the water and cones, so we want to avoid going off track when we are disappointed. We need to stick close to God!
2. Limbo. Everyone in the group does the limbo. The limbo is played by walking under the rope or stick without touching it with any part of your body and without anything but your feet touching the floor. Two leaders should hope the rope taut or a stick and lower it each time everyone has had a turn. Players are eliminated when they fail to walk under without touching it. Application: Just as you avoided the stick/rope, so we want to avoid going off track when we are disappointed. We need to stick close to God!
3. This way, That way. Explain to the children that when you say ‘This way’ you want them to move to the right. When you say ‘That way’ you want them to move to the left. You will be pointing to the direction you want them to go. However, if you get them mixed up, and point to the right whilst saying ‘That way’ and pointing to the left whilst saying ‘This way’ they are not to move. If the children move then they will be eliminated from the game. Have a practice a few times before you begin so that they everyone gets the hang of it. Make it faster when it gets too easy. You may need some leaders to keep an eye out in case you get confused too!
BIG VERSE: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8.
SET the Scene:
Read Exodus 6:1-12. Here, the children will find that God is asking Moses to go and speak to Pharoah. Yet Moses is still disappointed that the Israelites have not listened to him. He wonders whether anyone will listen to Him, when even his own people fail to believe what he has to say.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1. OBJECT LESSON: DANGER: DISAPPOINTMENT CAN STEER YOU IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
You will need to hold a child’s toy car or car wheel as you talk and use it to show what going in the wrong direction looks like. You could even make a cardboard box car and speak from inside that [use any car visual that will grab the children’s attention]
Say: The Israelites had been discouraged. They hadn’t seen God swoop in and rescue them as they expected Him to do. And now they were being worked harder than ever before! Now they were going to stop listening to Moses. Big mistake. When we get disappointed it can be easy to turn away from God, to turn away from listening to His voice and from the voices of those who care for us. We can begin to steer ourselves in a different direction – the wrong direction!
There’s a joke that says, ‘ A senior citizen was driving the wrong way when his wife called him on the phone. “Herman I just heard on the news that there’s some car driving the wrong way on Route 280. Please be careful!” “It’s not just one car!” said Herman, “It’s hundred’s of them!” ‘
Who do you think was driving in the wrong direction? [get feedback] That’s right! Herman! Now, that might sound funny, but if a car really was going in the wrong direction, would it be safe? Why not? [get feedback] Exactly, it’s dangerous because it’s not the way you’re supposed to go. Whoever decided on the direction of the road did it for a good reason. To follow the right direction is the safest way.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”
It’s the same with us. When we get disappointed it is easy to start doing something different instead of listening to the One who made the rules in the first place. God knows the right direction for our lives. He knew what the right direction was for Moses too. There is danger in letting our disappointments steer our direction in life. Disappointments often only last a short time. Yet if we allow them to steer us away from what God wants us to do, we can get completely off track – and that can take a lot longer to set right again. We need to ask God to help us to keep our lives on the right track with Him – to keep going in the direction that He wants us to go.
2. OBJECT LESSON: DANGER: DON’T DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT ALONE
Begin by performing this skit: EVERYONE LEAVES (2 characters)
Matty: Everyone always leaves.
Mom: What do you mean?
Matty: Dad left. Johnny left to move away. Mike left to go to college. Everyone leaves.
Mom: Well, I’m still here.
Matty: But mom, how do I know that you’re not going to leave too?
Mom: Well, I suppose you don’t. You have to trust me. You have to believe that what I’m saying is true.
Matty: I don’t know if I can.
Mom: You know Matty, we are all going to have disappointments in life. I know it’s hard. You’ve been disappointed many times. But, you know, there’s one person who will never disappoint you. Do you know who that is?
Mom: No, Matty. I’m sorry but I’m not perfect. I won’t leave you, that’s for sure. But I’m afraid I will disappoint you from time. Jesus is the One who never disappoints us. He is perfect! We may think he has disappointed us and let us down, but that’s probably because we don’t understand that what he is doing for us is for the best. We’re not trusting him.
Matty: So, if I hold onto Jesus and keep trusting him, even when it gets tough, then he will never disappoint me?
Mom: That’s it.
Matty: Will he ever leave me?
Mom: No Matty, he promises he will be with you always.
Matty: I think I can trust him.
Mom: I think so too.
Say: It wasn’t just the Israelites that were disappointed. Moses was disappointed too. He was disappointed that the Israelites hadn’t listened to what he had to say. Moses had told them God was about to help them, but they hadn’t believed him. Imagine being Moses, and how that must have made him feel!
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
We can all get disappointed from time to time. Even when we obey God we can become disappointed, just like Moses. Maybe we have told a friend about Jesus and they haven’t listened. Maybe like Matty, you feel like someone has let you down somehow. Or maybe you failed a test that you were really hoping you would pass. Perhaps you were hoping to get on the school sports team and you didn’t quite make the team. When we get disappointed it can be easy to hide our disappointment and try carrying on with life. “Oh well, it didn’t matter anyway,” “I wasn’t bothered at all!” “It’s a good job it wasn’t important!” “Who cares anyway?!” These might sound like good little phrases, but if we are truly disappointed about something then we need to be honest with ourselves, with God and with others. We’re not supposed to deal with disappointment alone! Matty, in our skit, was honest with his mom about how he felt. Moses was honest with God. He told him how he really felt.
Moses said to God, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?” (6:12) He was basically saying, ‘I’ve already faced one disappointment, and now you’re asking me to do it all over again.’ He didn’t think it was going to work. God just listened. He didn’t say anything. Don’t deal with disappointment alone. God is there to help you and to listen to what you have to say. But remember, He will always help you to go the right way!
3. OBJECT LESSON: DANGER: DON’T DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT BY DISCOURAGING OTHERS
You will need to use a short personal story of how you have dealt with disappointment badly and how it has affected others.
Say: When we feel disappointed it can be easy to make others feel discouraged too. That’s exactly what happened with the Israelites. They were so disappointed that God hadn’t done what they had expected Him to do. He hadn’t saved them immediately. So they took it out on Moses. They stopped believing and they wouldn’t listen to him. They stopped trusting God. That meant that they also discouraged Moses, instead of encouraging him.
When we get disappointed we can take it out on other people. [Share your short personal story here.]
Imagine if I had dealt with my disappointment in a better way? Do you think other people might have benefitted? I think so too! Imagine if the Israelites had tried to encourage Moses and had kept on believing. It may have helped Moses to see that God was on his side. We can ask God to help us encourage others even when things look disappointing for us. Even though Jesus knew he was going to face the cross and was disappointed that his friends could not pray one night with him before his suffering (Luke 22:39-46), he never failed to encourage them to keep going for God. So then, even when we fail the test, or we don’t get into the sports team, or someone let’s us down, Jesus will help us to encourage others even when we feel low ourselves. All we have to do is ask. In fact, when we focus on Him, He will help us to see that our disappointment is part of a bigger picture that He is going to help us through. Let’s pray.
Thank you Jesus that you never disappoint us, and that when it looks like you have, we simply need to keep trusting you. You always have the best plans for us. Help us to keep going in the right direction in our lives; listening to You and believing and trusting in Your word. Help us to encourage others even when we feel disappointed and discouraged ourselves. In Jesus name, Amen.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
You will need to put the names of the people below on small slips of paper. Laminate them and cut them out (making sure there are no sharp edges). Prepare some jello and as you are mixing it add the laminated slips in. Do this two or three times, depending on the amount of players you want to play the game. Bring the jello along to the session with you.
Players must stand behind their bowl of jello and use only their mouths to retrieve the slips of paper. Warn them that there must be no eating of the jello! They wouldn’t want to eat the paper by mistake. The player with the most paper is the winner. As you explain who each player retrieved from the jello, explain how they dealt with disappointment in their lives.
People in the bible that dealt with disappointment wisely:
Moses: Moses kept having reasons to be disappointed in the people around him. The Israelites moaned all the way around a desert after leaving Egypt and set up a calf as an idol, they kept disobeying God and his Word.
Esther: when she found out all of her people were going to be in trouble, Esther quickly got everyone to fast and pray for 3 days.
Daniel: Even when Daniel heard the disappointing news that everyone was to only pray to King Darius, Daniel still continued to pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Job: Job was more than disappointed when his family were killed and he was left with a bad skin condition. Yet he still loved and followed God.
Jeremiah: Jeremiah was faithful to God even when nobody was listening to him and he was treated unfairly.
David: David was so sad and disappointed when his first son died, yet he didn’t let it stop him from following God. He knew that he would one day see him again.
Paul: Even though many rejected the gospel and there were many trials along the way, Paul never let his disappointment send him in the wrong direction. He followed God’s instructions of where he should go and what he should do.
Jesus: It must have felt quite disappointing to know that there were so many people that rejected you. Yet Jesus didn’t let the disappointment get to him. He made sure he did all that God had called him to do. Including dying and raising himself from the dead!
People in the bible that dealt with disappointment in the wrong way:
The Israelites: When God said that they would not enter the Promised Land, they decided to try and do it without Him. They tried to fight their enemies without Him. This ended very badly.
King Saul: When King Saul was told he was no longer going to be king, and that someone else had been chosen in his place, he did not repent and get right with God. Instead, he kept doing his own thing. This was disobedience towards God. He was going in completely the wrong direction in life.
Jonah: Jonah was disappointed that God wanted to help the Ninevites. yet he didn’t talk to God about it, he simply decided to run away.
[I’m sure you can think of many more, but this is a simple list to get you started!]
SENSE How You Feel:
You will need copies of the ‘Cheer Up Moses!’ printable activity sheet and plenty of markers.
Imagine you are Moses.
You have a great build up in telling the Israelites that God has sent you to help them. You watch on as they are treated harshly by Pharoah. Their discouragement blocks their ears from receiving God’s voice from you again. Now God wants you to go to Pharoah, when even your own people won’t listen to you! How do you feel?
What words of encouragement would you speak to Moses?
Are there any good bible verses that you can think of that – had they been around – might have helped Moses? What words would you speak to him? What would you do for him?
Use the ‘Cheer Up Moses!’ printable activity sheet to write down or draw your ideas.
Discuss how we can help those we know that are feeling disappointed too.
Ask the children to think about their own situations and when the last time they were disappointed was. Can they remember? If not, ask them to remember a time when they were disappointed and say:
How do you normally deal with disappointment in your life?
Is this a good way, or a bad way?
God wants to help us when we feel disappointed in others or with things that have happened. Ask God to show you how you might deal with disappointment in the future. [Give the children a few minutes to think about these things]
Perhaps you are feeling disappointed right now. Ask God to come and remind you how much He loves you and that He is with you, even in your disappointment. [Give the children a few moments to respond]
Ask him to show you if there is anyone in your life that is feeling disappointed right now, and how you might be there for them and help them. [Give them a few minutes to quietly pray]
Lord Jesus, Thank you that you care for each one of us that feels disappointed right now. Thank you that You love us so much and you are near to us even in our disappointment. Just like you were near to Moses. We pray for those we know that are disappointed and we ask that You would come and draw close to them also. We ask that You would help us to show them Your love today. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.