- Have you ever experienced a big challenge or hard time? (Students may talk about an illness or injury, challenge at school, or hard times for their families such as the loss of a job or divorce of parents.)
Throughout our lives, we experience all kinds of hard situations. The Bible calls these “trials.”
- Think of a trial you have experienced. What bad things happened because of this challenge? Can you think of anything good that happened as a result? (Be prepared to share your own experience with examples of good results so that students understand how to assess their own situations.)
When we overcome challenges, we demonstrate perseverance. Perseverance is “the act or power or continuing to do something in spite of difficulties.” When we have perseverance, we push through challenges and hard times to do hard things.
- Have you ever persevered through a big challenge? What happened? (Students may talk about how things got better, how they learned something, how others supported them, or how they felt God helping them.)
We are going to watch a video about a 9-year-old who has experienced some trials in his life but who has persevered. Listen for two things: 1. What challenges and hard times does he describe? 2. What helps him to persevere? Let’s watch this amazing story together!
Share the following video with your students [3:45]:
The Inspirational Story of 9-year-old Ezra Frech
What an amazing story. Were you listening carefully for our two things?
- What challenges and hard times does he describe? (Students may talk about how Ezra was born without a leg and part of his hand, how he had to have surgery, how other kids whisper and stare, how he has to work harder to play sports and has back pain, etc.)
- What helps him to persevere? (Students may say being thankful for the good things in his life, his love and passion for sports, knowing God created him this way for a reason, considering the good his disability has brought him: confidence, strength, compassion.)
Perseverance can help us to do hard things in our lives. Knowing God is in control can give us courage to not give up when the going gets tough. When God asked Moses to go before Pharaoh, Moses and his people, the Israelites, faced some major difficulties. Let’s look at what the Bible says about trusting God and pushing through hard times.
Kids definition of perseverance
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
- Cardstock (1 sheet per student)
- Colored pencils, pens, or markers
- Optional: Art supplies, stickers, etc.
In the video we watched earlier, Ezra talked about what he does to stay positive. He said, “I have to think about what I have instead of what I don’t have.” He mentioned his family, his school, sports, and his friends. Think about the good things you have in your life—people you love, food and shelter, even activities you enjoy doing. On top of those things, remember that you have a loving God who is always in control!
Our memory verse tells us that we are blessed when we persevere through trials in our lives. Blessed means “happy.” It’s a happiness you feel deep down inside that comes from God. Have a volunteer read the memory verse, James 1:12. When we remember that God is in control, we can persevere through all of life’s challenges. And as we do, God will bless us.
Hand each student a sheet of cardstock and a pen. Encourage your students to think about the good things in their lives that God has provided. (Examples: family, friends, school, hobbies, food, shelter, fresh air to breathe, or a favorite location.) Instruct your preteens to write “I am thankful for …” at the top of their poster and make a list. Encourage them be creative and decorate their posters however they wish.
At times it is easy to focus on all the things that go wrong in our lives. When we do this, we may forget that God is in control; we may forget about all the ways He is blessing us — even in the midst of hard times.
Give your students a few moments to think, write, and create. Post your thankful poster on your bedroom wall or in your locker to remind you of all God has done for you. Moses and the Israelites persevered through hard times because they knew God was in control and would rescue them. The Bible says that those who follow Jesus can expect to experience trials in life. The good news is: God is in control, so don’t give up!
If time permits invite (but do not require) volunteers to share a few things they wrote on their thankful lists.
Close in prayer.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)