06.09.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 2: Despair”

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Breaking Ground

Share a story about when you really wanted something & it looked like it wouldn’t happen… then it did. What was the situation? How did that change of fortune feel?


The Dig

Psalm 42.

First, ask each member of your group to define despair. What does it mean to despair?

Second, take a moment to reflect on a time when you felt what you would call despair. What happened? Why would you consider it despair?

Consider what came up in your discussion & then re-read the Psalm. How does this Psalm capture the struggle & reality of despair? Did any of the language stick out to you when it came to your own experiences?

Notice – the author struggles mightily with despair in the areas of his life where he feels God is absent. What is the relationship between despair & feeling like God is not in a situation?

Why is it so easy to feel like God isn’t with us in moments of struggle & despair?

Notice in verse 6, the author begins the process of finding hope in their situation by looking backwards upon what God has previously done for them.

What is the relationship between remembering our past relief/victory & finding hope in present ones?

The Psalms that talk about despair capture a common human tendency – believing that our current situation is how our lives will always be. Thus, in many ways, despair is primarily the belief that how things are is how things always will be.

Is there anything in your life that you struggle to see as being changeable? Is it a situation? Relationship? Struggle? Circumstance?

Why do you have trouble imagining that this thing could change? What about it seems like it won’t change?

In light of this conversation – how would you define hope in your life?

In almost every Psalm of despair, the author closes by trusting God, not his own power, with changing or overcoming the situation. The author learns to hope only by looking to a God bigger than themselves.

What role does God play in learning to have hope?

What could it look like to place your hope in God in this area of despair or struggle? How might you take one step towards hope this week?


Getting Out of the Hole

Go back to your thoughts from last week (see last week’s Getting Out of the Hole if need be). Reflect on the struggle that you are tackling over the course of this series.

Journal on how you might need to change how you see hope in that situation, pattern, emotional response, relationship, or cycle. Reflect on how you learning to hope in that situation could impact how you approach or move forward with growing or healing in it. Take time to write out some things that would change for the better if you sought out hope in whatever it is.

Continue to share with your growth group how it’s going each week!


Additional Resources*

Surprised by Hope by NT Wright

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl


Coming Up This Week:*

Sunday, June 16: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing doubt & trust.

* Please see mye3.org for details.