Help Wanted: Fear & Anxiety

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What is your biggest fear?
No Youth Group next week
Bad Bible Stories
Me before y'all come trying to look cool
Today, we’ll be discussing how God helps us overcome fear and anxiety. Fear is something that we’ve all experienced, especially when life gets hard or scary. Even through life’s challenges, God’s love and care for us remains. He can help us when we feel anxious or afraid. Let’s dive into this truth together!
Group Activity
Fearing the Unknown
For our activity today, a few volunteers will experience the fear of the unknown.
One at a time, three brave volunteers will put their hand inside a box with a mystery item inside.
Only I know what lies inside that box! (Insert maniacal laughter, if desired.) Their task is to guess what they’re touching, without looking, before they remove their hand.
Is it a comb? Is it moldy cheese? Is it my cousin’s frog? They will guess, and we’ll be entertained.
Volunteers, what kinds of emotions did you have when it was your turn to put your hand in the box?
For everyone else, what kinds of feelings would you expect?
Thank you to each of our volunteers. It’s clear that some of us are braver than others! It can be really scary putting your hand somewhere you can’t see.
Your brain is pretty much a fear factory as it imagines every possible bad thing that could be in the box.
Sometimes our walk through life can feel scary, too.
Fear is often a product of the things we imagine might happen to us.
Sometimes we feel fear when we’re not in control of our situation. When this happens, we can get overwhelmed and anxious.
But God, in His great love for us, can replace those feelings with peace.
He can provide a way out of the fears we have. He is trustworthy, even if we hit a few roadblocks in this life. God gives us His peace in the midst of our fears.
How would you define fear? What about anxiety? What do hey feel like?
Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Anxiety and fear are real. Sometimes our circumstances can be scary or even look hopeless.
When we’re afraid, we can be tempted to let fear influence our decisions.
If those feelings of fear and worry don’t go away, anxiety can set in. We might feel tense, irritable, or tired.
Or the opposite happens, and it’s hard to sleep much at all.
Tell story of how I was so anxious for the next day that I would stay up late
But these feelings are never bigger than God.
God’s love and His great plan for our life can beat out our biggest fears.
We can have peace because the God we serve is bigger than the hardships we face.

Even When Life Gets Scary, God Is with Us

Do you think Joseph felt afraid or anxious? Why or why not?
Today’s Bible verses pick up about thirteen years after Joseph’s brothers had told their dad that Joseph had been killed.
Instead, the brothers had sold Joseph as a slave. Then he was unfairly thrown in prison. He seemed to be forgotten by everyone.
But one day, Pharaoh had a dream no one could interpret. His cupbearer remembered Joseph!
Joseph not only interpreted Pharaoh’s dream but also provided a wise plan for the upcoming famine.
Genesis 41:39–41 (NIV)
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.”
Genesis 42:1–4 (NIV)
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.
Even though Joseph had a rough journey leading up to this moment, he now found himself in a position of great authority.
He was second in command over what was likely one of the most powerful nations in the world. Joseph’s dreams that he had many years earlier were finally coming to pass in God’s perfect timing.
Joseph’s godly wisdom led him to store up loads of grain right before a time of famine. The fulfillment of his dreams wasn’t just about him. It offered opportunities for his family to survive.
Jacob was terrified of losing his youngest son, Benjamin.
He was overly protective, which was rooted in fear.
After all, he still believed that he had already lost one son. We can be like this sometimes.
Whenever we’re afraid of losing something or someone we love, we hold on tighter out of fear.
How can fear prevent us from making good decisions?

When We Step Out, God Guides Us

Genesis 45:3–9 (NIV)
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.
Genesis 45:16–18 (NIV)
When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’
In the previous chapter, Joseph’s brothers had bowed down to him just like in his dream.
And here, Joseph revealed to his brothers that he was alive.
Imagine seeing someone you sold as a slave and thought you’d never see again right in front of you! Not only that, but he was the governor of a great nation.
Then imagine that he controlled all the resources you desperately needed at the time.
They were probably shocked—and scared—to discover he was still alive!
They probably wondered if Joseph would pay them back for what they had done to him.
He chose to see the situation from God’s perspective.
God was never absent from Joseph’s life, even when he was going through terrible things.
This whole time, God was working behind the scenes to protect and provide for Joseph and his family.
Sometimes our own bad decisions create situations that lead to pain.
Other times God may allow something in order to get us to a place where He can fulfill His plan.
Joseph had to choose to keep trusting God no matter what happened.
Why do you think we still have fears even though we know God is bigger than our fears?

When We Trust God, He Meets Us

Genesis 46:1–5 (NIV)
So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”
Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him.
Joseph’s brothers went back to get their families and move to Egypt.
They had great news to share with Jacob—not only was Joseph alive, but he was the governor of Egypt!
Jacob would be reunited with Joseph. But first, Jacob had to face his fear of making the trip.
Not only did God tell Jacob not to fear, but God also gave him an amazing promise—his family would be made into a great nation.
Do you think it’s possible to grow in your faith when living with fear? Why or why not?
Sometimes we can be tempted to let fear influence our decisions. But God never leaves us.
Even though we experience fear, God is trustworthy. God is always working on our behalf, even when we can’t see it.
God always loves us, even when we can’t feel it. He loves us so much! Fear is not from God. He promises to be with us in whatever we face. Do not fear because God is greater than any difficulty!
But you may face times that even knowing God is greater may not overcome all your fear. Sometimes it’s good to hear it from someone else.
Hearing the testimony that Joseph was alive was part of what helped Jacob overcome his fear of moving his family. We can experience this within the Church.
As a follower of Jesus, the community you’re a part of can offer help when you’re overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Their experiences can strengthen you.
Never hesitate to find a trusted leader or mature Christian to talk to about unresolved fears. It’s possible that they’re a part of God’s answer for your need.
Altar Responce
Let’s take time to consider how our life demonstrates a real trust in God. These questions are meant to serve as a conversation between you and God. Sharing your responses with the group is completely voluntary.
What is something that you used to fear or worry about, but God has helped you to overcome?
What is something that you fear or you’re worried about now that you need to give to God?
As you reflect on fear and anxiety, ask God to remind you of His presence. Even though anxiety and fear are real emotions, God is greater than anything we face. He wants to give you His peace. Because of Jesus, we can overcome fear and anxiety in our life.
Salvation Opportunity
Overcoming fear and anxiety through Jesus starts with having a relationship with Him. Anxiety is not from God. He can calm any fear we face, regardless of how hard it may feel. God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us because He loves us so much. He knows everything about us, including the emotions we feel. God stands ready to forgive you for any sin you’ve committed against Him. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior.
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