Crossroads: Being Afraid

Jonah 1:1-17

My Story

When I was young, I went to a clothing store with my mother. I liked going to the store because I was small enough to get inside the clothes racks and play. My mother warned me to stay close to her, but I didn’t listen very well. As soon as we were inside the store, I let go of my mother’s hand and dove into the clothes. It was great playing in the clothes rack. All the adults were too big to get behind the clothes, so I was in my own little world. I played for a few minutes, finally got bored, and made my way out into the aisle. But then there was a problem—I couldn’t find my mother.

“Mama, where are you?” I asked, but I did not see her anywhere. My mother was wearing a brown dress, but I didn’t see her or the brown dress. I frantically looked as I hurried down the aisle, but my mother was not there. “Mama, where are you,” I said even louder, but still there was no response. By this time, I started running down the aisle, tears filling my eyes, desperately looking for that brown dress. I ran past a woman wearing gray slacks, past another wearing a red dress, and then past a woman in a blue dress, but I still did not see my mother. As I ran down the aisle, the woman in the blue dress grabbed me by the arm. When I stopped to look at her, it was my mother. She had been trying on a new dress while I was playing in the clothes, so because I was looking for her brown dress, I almost missed her.

Your Story

Tell about a time when you were scared. What happened to you? Why were you afraid?
– Did anyone help you while you were frightened?
– If someone comforted you, what did that person do that made you feel better?
– Did you pray when you were scared?
– What do people say in their prayers when they are afraid? What do you pray?
– What kinds of things make you feel frightened?

The Bible Story

God wanted Jonah to go to a town called Nineveh, but Jonah decided to get on a boat that was going to a different city called Tarshish. Everything went fine for a while, but then the boat ran into a strong storm. All the people on the boat were afraid and wondered why they had encountered such harsh weather. But Jonah believed the storm was God’s way of telling him to go to Nineveh instead of Tarshish. Jonah decided the only way to save the people on the boat was for him to go to Nineveh, so Jonah asked the men to throw him off the boat and into the water.

When Jonah landed in the water, a strange thing happened. A huge fish, probably a whale, was nearby, and the whale mistakenly thought Jonah was food. So the whale swallowed Jonah, and Jonah spent the next three days inside the whale’s stomach. At the end of three days, the whale swam to dry land and spit Jonah out. Jonah had learned an important lesson—he decided to go where God wanted him to go, so Jonah went to Nineveh.

Discussion Questions

– What do you think it was like to be inside the whale’s stomach for three days? What did it feel like? How did it smell?
– What did Jonah do during those three days? What would you have done if you were inside a whale’s stomach?
– Do you think Jonah was afraid? Do you think he prayed to God?
– What might Jonah have prayed while inside the whale’s stomach?
– How would this story have been different if Jonah had done what God wanted him to do in the beginning?

Action

– Think of ways you as a family can help each other when one of you is frightened
– Encourage each person to tell someone in the family when he or she is afraid

Prayer

– Thank God for being with us when we are afraid.
– Ask God to forgive us when we don’t do what God wants us to do.
– Ask God to help us remember how much God loves us when we are afraid.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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