Youth Group Lesson from 4/24/2016
This lesson was inspired by a few different sources.
- The Garden by Needtobreathe
- An excerpt from “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller
- Reflecting on my dear friend John-Mark Myers
Take a few minutes and think about a heartbreak that you have experienced.
Remember all the feelings that accompany a heartbreak.
Think about what you did to “cope” or “get through” it. (I put those in “” because after a heartbreak, we are never the same. Sometimes we can never move past them)
My most recent heartbreak came on August 3rd 2015. I got a call that one of my good buddies, John-Mark had passed away early that morning in a car crash. I was in total disbelief. I kept expecting him to show up and all this be fake. The next few days were a complete blur. I was working at summer camp, and didn’t want the campers to know that I was in so much pain, so I just pushed all of my feelings to the side and moved through the week in a very numb state. The heartbreak didn’t really set in until the funeral. Sitting in a pew at the church, it finally hit me. Seeing his lifeless face, motionless body and mourning family, I knew that this was real. I did my best to hold it together, to “be strong” for everyone. There is something about seeing one of your buddies, laying in a casket, that will never be erased from my memory. At that moment, with Worm (one of my friends) arms around me, I came unglued. It felt as if my chest had exploded. It was hard to breathe. Words were impossible. My heart was completely broken. A heartbreak that can only happen when you have completely opened up your heart to something and then it is gone. Forever.
I asked my youth group about times that they had experienced crippling heartbreak. There was a wide variety of circumstances; girls/boys, a Vanderbilt football player was shot, Texas lost the title game, moving homes/places, sports games, pets dying, and of course- when a favorite teddy bear was ripped! All of these experiences have one major commonality- love. They happened because they completely opened their hearts. Even if a situation seems silly, people can still feel heartbreak because of how hard they loved.
We jotted down a list of the evil counterparts that come with heartbreak. As if that wasn’t enough, heartbreak brings a whole gang of friends; anger, confusion, frustration, shocked, trapped, hopelessness, depression, anxiety and self-hate. (There are more, but this was our list)
We then talked about how we dealt with these problems; being with friends, being alone, fishing, working out, church, and a few destructive ways too.
(At this point in the lesson, I told the group that I am in no way trying to be Mr. fix it for these problems. Just want to get us in a frame of mind to be open to learning in a deeper way. I wanted to also emphasize that I am human, and I also struggle with many things.)
We took time to listen to the song “The Garden” by Needtobreathe.
Then we read: Matthew 26: 36-38
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow-to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with Me.”
Key phrase- “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow-to the point of death” This phrase completely captures the feeling of heartbreak. Love the use of the word Swallow!
During this time for Jesus, He knew everything that was about to happen, but yet chose to accept it and not alter the plans. His prayer to God in the following scripture says “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” Matthew 26:39b- really think about that. If you knew that your heart and body was about to break harder than it ever has before, wouldn’t you do everything to fix that? If I knew that John-Mark was going to crash that morning, I would have done everything I could to stop it from happening. But very important, Jesus denies His wants, and accepts His fate and pushes for God’s will.
John 1:2 & 18- “He was with God in the beginning” and “No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son- the One who is in the bosom of the Father” Being in someone’s bosom, on their chest, is a very intimate position. You are completely open to someone if you allow them to lay their head on your chest. It is a sign of being one. When your head is on someone else’s chest you can hear their heartbeat, feel their breaths, and simply just being with them. In moments like this, you are as close to this person as you can get. This is the exact relationship that Jesus had with the Father. He has had this relationship for eternity. This close, intimate, being One relationship.
Matthew 27:46 “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani that is My God My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus is referencing Psalm 22. (Go read it, its awesome). In the time frame of Jesus, the Psalms were not numbered the way they are now. They were often referred to as their first lines. So, in this instance “My God My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is referencing the entirety Psalm 22. The entire Psalm is a cry from David, and a prediction of the Crucifixion. When Jesus was hanging on the Cross, He was taking our place, and becoming the Sacrifice. This was the only time in all of eternity, that Jesus has been separated from the Father. He very well could have felt that He was forsaken by God, even though He wasn’t. While hanging on the cross, He was beaten beyond recognition, pierced, stabbed, mocked, and on top of this He had an excruciating heartbreak. A heartbreak that was greater than anything we can imagine.
Knowing that the greatest heartbreak of all time was coming, Jesus still accepted it because He loved us. He knew that only through His heartbreak, we could experience the true love of God. Love is always worth it.
Even though my heart is still broken because John-Mark is no longer physically with me, I would not exchange the times I had with him to get rid of this pain. I see that the memories that I have, will outreach the pain of loss.
“Tis better to have loved and loss than never to have loved at all”- Alfred Lord Tennyson