As oppression, corruption, disease and persecution permeate our world, have you felt like the psalmist when he asked, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off?” (Psalm 10:1).
At times in my life, when trials and turmoil … and death and disease … seem to obscure everything and everyone else, God can seem far off. I would feel abandoned by God, except I know He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we may say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Therefore, I place my faith not in my feelings, but in His Word. And that’s when I discover the Treasure …
I. IN THE DARKNESS
- Give examples of spiritual and moral darkness that you see in our world, in the church, in your family.
- What encouragement do you receive from Isaiah 45:7?
- Who is ultimately in control?
- What is God’s promise in Isaiah 45:3?
- What is the treasure in the darkness?
II. IN THE DESERT
- Describe a spiritual “desert.” See Exodus 15:22; 16:2-3.
- Where did God’s people see the Lord in Exodus 16:10?
- Describe John’s “desert” in Revelation 1:9.
- What was John’s experience there, according to Revelation 1:9-16?
- Can you think of a time when you were spiritually dry, cut off from all that was familiar, yet you met God in a fresh way?
- How are you encouraged by Isaiah 35:6 (KJV)? Exodus 17:1-6? Genesis 21:14-20?
- Have you discovered the treasure in your desert?
III. IN THE CLOUD
- When have you been oppressed by clouds of confusion or temptation, disappointment or depression, loneliness or grief?
- What did God promise His people in Exodus 19:9?
- How was Jonah in the dark, and what was his testimony in Jonah 2:1-3:2? The psalmist in Psalm 40:2? Daniel in Daniel 6:1-28? Lazarus in John 11?
- How are you encouraged by Exodus 20:21-26? Psalm 97:2? 2 Samuel 22:29?
- Have you seen the treasure in your cloud?
IV. IN THE STORM
- What disease, death, divorce, disaster, persecution or other storms have come into your life? See Proverbs 1:27.
- Describe Ezekiel’s storm in Ezekiel 1:1-5.
- Who came to the prophet in the midst of the storm in Ezekiel 1:25-28?
- What was Isaiah’s experience when he had a brush with death in Isaiah 6:1-8?
- Describe how Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were persecuted for their faith in Daniel 3:1-23.
- Did God keep the three young Hebrews from being thrown into the fire? Or did He show up in the midst of it? See Daniel 3:24-25.
- How was God glorified by the young men refusing to bow down or bend to the government’s evil edict? See Daniel 3:26-29.
- Describe Peter’s storm in Matthew 14:22-33.
- What did Peter discover as a result?
- What do you learn about storms from the following descriptions: Job 40:6? Proverbs 10:25? Nahum 1:3?
- What do you learn from Jesus’ own example in Luke 8:22-25?
- When the storm breaks, do you have eyes to see the treasure?
V. ON THE MOUNTAIN
While mountains can represent peaks and high points, they also can represent difficulties, obstacles and hardships.
- Name some mountains in your life at present.
- How are you encouraged by Exodus 34:1-5? Isaiah 45:2? Genesis 22:14? Mark 9:2-8?
- What treasure are you missing because you are too weary or too busy to climb the mountain?
When in the darkness, the desert, the cloud, the storm, or facing a mountain, don’t miss the Treasure. Open your eyes to Jesus. ©2022 Anne Graham Lotz
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version.
This article is adapted from a study originally published in March 2009.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.