Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The
Main Point: Though it might not look like it at times, and we might not understand it at other times, God is in complete control over the entire universe.
The Movie Clip:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was Hollywood’s take on the literary work of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Brad Pitt (and a few other male actors) is Benjamin Button, a man who ages in reverse. Born in 1918, Benjamin looks like an infant-sized old man. But across his life, he grows and decreases in age. The plot of the movie centers on Benjamin’s on-again-off-again love interest with Daisy Fuller (also played by multiple actresses, including Cate Blanchett).
The film was received with strong acclaim when it was released in 2008. For its exploration into life’s philosophical dilemmas and emotional upheavals, it was nominated for multiple Oscars, and won three.
The film was rated PG-13 for brief war violence, sexual content, language and smoking.
Introducing the Clip:
Maybe some of us saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt. Even though the movie is about a guy who is born as an old man and then reverses in age becoming a child at his death, the clip I want to show you has little to do with that. In this clip, middle-aged Benjamin is talking about something weird that’s just happened to his friend Daisy, who he loves and is romantically interested in. Take a close listen to how Benjamin describes ten life-changing minutes in Daisy’s life.
This clip is available to download from WingClips and can be found at the following link:
Kinda makes you think about your life, doesn’t it. I mean, we’ve all had those days, or even just those moments, when something happens, and our lives take a big turn. Sometimes we’re left wondering what happened. Why did it happen? What’s the point of all this? Why did God let this happen? I can’t answer all those questions for your life, in fact, I can’t even answer all those questions for MY life. But God can. Here’s the truth: though it might not look like it at times, and though we might not understand it at other times, God is in complete control over the entire universe, our lives included. I can show you that profound fact by sharing a gripping story with you from God’s Word. This is a big part of life so let’s get to it.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and a time when things didn’t go according to our plans.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, Brad Pitt’s character said, “If only one thing had happened differently…that taxi would have driven by. But life being what it is…out of anyone’s control…that taxi did not go by, and that taxi hit Daisy and her leg was crushed.” How much control do you think we have over our lives?
- ASK A FEW: There are thousands of things that intersect/interrupt our lives. Can you give a few examples? (Leaders – For instance, you give a friend a ride to school, but when you went to pick him up, he wasn’t ready, so you both got a tardy in first period.)
- ASK A FEW: Do you believe in coincidence? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: When things go way wrong in life, what is your immediate thought/opinion of God? Be honest.
- ASK A FEW: How much control do you think God has over our world? Why?
- ASK A FEW: When you see or hear about an event like the one described in the video, does it cause you to doubt whether or not God is in control of the world? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
Job 1:6 – 2:9 (ESV)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. 13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 3 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
The scene from the movie was clearly fictional. Even though weirder things than that have happened in real life, there’s no way that Benjamin could have known all the things that were going on in the lives of six or seven different people that totally changed his friend’s life.
But that’s the whole point. We WANT to know more.
We all face tough times. We all face loss. We all face heartache. We all face moments when we wonder if God is real…if God is good…if God even cares…or if He’s actually in control of our world.
I hope what you’ve seen during our discussion is this: God IS in total control of our world, even though it may not look like it, and even if you don’t understand it.
Take Job’s story – a true story – for example. Job faced awful losses and terrible experiences. His whole world was torn apart. But he responded in faith to the God that he knew was real and that he knew loved him. Job never turned his back on God even though everybody in Job’s life – including his wife – might have thought God had forgotten about Job. Job faced the turmoil knowing God was there. In fact, across the remaining pages of Job’s story, Job even argues with God about what happened to him.
In the end, God spoke to Job and changed his life again. God showed Job that He had matchless power and that if He were to try and answer all of Job’s questions, He’d blow Job’s mind.
You might not know it, but Job’s story ends a whole lot differently than it begins. In the end, Job gets more livestock, more children, and more blessings from God. In fact, he is far richer and blessed at the end than he was in the beginning.
I don’t want to mislead you. Sometimes you and I will face tough circumstances and there won’t be any closure to our suffering. We won’t get back more than we lost. We won’t regain what was stripped away. Even so, I think God wants us to do what Job did: trust Him in spite of what we’re facing.
Let’s group together and spend a few moments praying for one another. Let’s ask God to grow our faith so we can trust Him more. Let’s ask God to help us understand what He’s up to in our lives even when life isn’t going our way.
After we’re done praying, if you’d like to speak with an adult leader or myself, just hang around. We’d love to talk about what you’re going through in life.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.