Family Devotion Idea: Adversity

*About twice a month, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!

Teaching Goal:
Hard times can make us stronger and give us more faith depending on how we choose to handle the situation.

Genesis 37 and 39-45 Story of Joseph

Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Psalm 34:18-19 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

I Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

3 sauce pans half full with water
2 raw carrots
Enough coffee beans to cover the bottom of the pan
3 empty bowls or cups
Optional: Joseph video

Lesson and Discussion:

*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.

ACTIVITY: Before starting our discussion, we are going to put 3 different food items in hot water to see how they react. The hot water is going to represent tough times. Fill three regular size saucepans half full of water. Put the carrot in one pan of water, the egg in another pan and the coffee beans in the third pan. Turn each burner on high and let the water boil about 20 minutes.

Do you know what “adversity” means? It means misfortune, distress, misery or suffering. Have youever faced adversity? Has anyone ever treated you unfairly or said things about you that hurt your feelings or weren’t true? Allow children to tell you about their own hurts. You may want to mention one of your own to help get them started.

In your own words tell the story of Joseph. Discuss the times of adversity he faced:
His brothers hated him
His brothers sold him into slavery
He was wrongly imprisoned because of Potiphar’s wife
He was forgotten in prison after interpreting the cupbearer’s dreams.

OPTIONAL: Show a video clip of Joseph if you have access to one of the many videos on the life of Joseph. You may be able to borrow a video from your church library or rent one from a Christian bookstore.

Joseph had many reasons to give up. Instead he trusted God and made the most of each situation he faced. He spent years and years in situations that were tough but he remained faithful and never gave up. God remained faithful and blessed Joseph tremendously later in his life. God had a plan in which He wanted Joseph to be a part. He could have fulfilled His plan through anyone but since Joseph remained faithful, Joseph received the blessings in the end.

If 20 minutes has not yet passed, continue the discussion, using this time to show how God has been faithful to your family through different circumstances. After 20 minutes, check the food in each pan of water.

Let’s check our food to see what’s happened to each of them after sitting in the boiling water. Put the carrot in a bowl, the egg in a separate bowl and spoon out the coffee into a cup. Feel the carrot. How does it feel? It is now soft. Break a fresh carrot to compare the difference. Peel the shell from the egg and tell me how it has changed since it’s been boiled? It has become hard. Break an uncooked egg and compare. The coffee has changed too but in a different way. Put the coffee beans beside the cup of liquid.

The carrot started out strong but after going through adversity, it became soft, weak and lost its strength. The egg had a strong exterior protecting its weak fragile insides but after going through adversity, it became hardened. Look at the coffee beans. The beans also went through the adversity of being boiled in hot water. Instead of changing from being strong to becoming soft and losing its strength as the carrot did; or from fragile to becoming hardened as the egg did; the coffee bean changed the environment (the water) around it in a positive way. The water is now a special drink that can be enjoyed by many.

Can you think of Bible stories where the characters are soft like the carrot, hard like the egg or influence those around them? Solomon’s faith became soft when he allowed power, possessions and pleasure to become more important in his life than God. Pharaoh was hardened to the faith despite all the miracles performed by Moses and Aaron. Esther’s faith had an impact on all those around her. Paul’s faith had an impact on the guards in prison.

How will you respond to adversity? When you face hard times will you lose your strength and become weak? Will you be like the egg that looks the same on the outside but is now hardened on the inside? Or will you stay strong? The hotter the water, the more impact the coffee has on the water. Will you change what is around you to make yourself better? Will you trust God to work out the tough times and make you stronger in the process?

Read Psalm 34:18-19 and I Peter 5:10 (page one). God promised that He would be there for us. Let times of adversity help you to grow stronger and make your faith grow.

If you liked this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training. See the link on the right side of this page for more information.