what do you think?
Every person is unique and different. Write down four things that make you uniquely “you.”
How are you different from every other person? Do you feel that these differences make you special? Do you feel that they cause you to be misunderstood? Do you enjoy being different, or do you wish you were like everyone else and “fit in”?
did you know?
God planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for His purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for His purpose. The Bible says, “From one man he made all the nations . . . ; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (Acts 17:26, NIV). Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.
INTO THE STORY
“When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him.
“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’
“ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?” ’
“But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
“While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’
“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’
“He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.’ But they laughed at him.
“After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.”
(Mark 5:21-43, NIV)
OUT OF THE STORY
What has been the loneliest time of your life, and how did you deal with it?
Who in this story might have felt lonely and cut off from others? Why?
How might the synagogue ruler and the bleeding woman feel powerless in their particular situations?
What would be worse: the grief and loneliness from a loved one who passed away or the loneliness from a life lived completely alone, shunned by society? Explain.
What can we learn from this story about Jesus’ power over loneliness and grief?
“God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing” (Psalm 68:6, NIV).
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted” (Psalm 25:16, NIV).
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16, NIV).
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14, NIV).
“They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:10, NIV).
“To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing.” —Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 347.
“Human love may change, but Christ’s love knows no change. When we cry to Him for help, His hand is stretched out to save.” —Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 72
Read Psalm 139:13.
Everybody is completely unique. Your thoughts, your experiences, your strengths and challenges, are all your own. Look at these verses:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27, NIV).
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13, NIV).
“This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 44:2, NIV).
Why do you think that God created you the way He did? Think of the thing that frustrates you the most about yourself. Why do you think that God included that in the complete package?
Read Acts 10:34.
The woman with the bleeding problem and Jairus, the synagogue official, were two very different kinds of people. One was powerless and shunned by society because of her illness, and the other was powerful and influential because of his position. They had lived vastly different lives and had had completely different worries and experiences. However, both, in their desperation, turned to Jesus. What does Jesus do when we turn to Him? How did Jesus deal with their loneliness and grief? Why do you think that God created them to be the people He did? How do you think their encounters with Jesus might have changed their outlooks on life? How does our personal encounter with Jesus change us?
Read Psalm 139:23, 24.
If a tractor-trailer hit you, would you be changed? An encounter with such a large vehicle could not leave you unchanged. How much more should be changed by an encounter with the God of the universe? The woman with the problem with bleeding believed that only brushing the hem of Jesus’ robe would heal her. What in your life needs to be healed by an encounter with Jesus?
Read Psalm 139:4.
Consider this quote: “Originality does not consist in saying what no one has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think” (James Fitzjames Stephen). Ellen White says that God wants our praise to be “marked by our own individuality.” You can say it the way you feel it. You can talk the way you talk. What can you thank God for today that is perfectly unique to you?
Sometimes our individuality can make us feel separate from other people and misunderstood. How do these verses apply to you?
Read Psalm 30:5.
How can you, with the individuality that God created you with, connect with other people to help relieve their loneliness? How can you become “family” to someone who is lonely? Who in your life could be made happier if you took some notice of them?
Read Psalm 30:5.
“The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter” (King David, Psalm 30:5, Message).
“Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil. ’Tis the sole remedy against misfortune, the very ventilation of the soul” (Baltasar Gracian).
How can you be the answer to a lonely or grieving person’s prayer?