Spiritual Growth Agendas, Topical Curriculum

When Life Gets You Down

Main Point: God is with you to take on your burden and give you peace when you need it most.

Discussion Starter: Drama – Rest Through Suffering

Julie -popular overachiever, who is nice to everyone and keeps a smiling façade, but deep down is truly hurting.
Father – represents God and is always willing to listen and help.
Andy – Julie’s popular jock boyfriend who doesn’t take her seriously and tends to take her for granted.
Whitney – Julie’s ditzy cheerleading friend who is focused only on herself.
Teacher – very absentminded; she (or he) thinks she is being helpful when really she is putting Julie down.
Cindy – a sensitive and guileless person; kind of a reject, but Julie is still nice to her.
Mom – a nice lady who doesn’t really know what is going on in Julie’s life.

    Julie: (in bed, waking up sniffling and angry) God! Where are you?! Can’t you hear me?! Don’t you see that I’m suffering? (Crying) But do you know what the worst part is, God? It’s that no one cares, or no! No one KNOWS that I’m hurting inside.

    Mom: Julie! Time to wake up sweetie. You don’t want to be late for school do you?

    Julie: (wipes her tears, and tries to brighten her voice) No Mom, (pause) of course I wouldn’t want to be late.

    Julie: (arrives at school and walks towards her friends)

    Andy: Hey Julie! Baby, over here. (Andy puts his arm around Julie’s waist) How was your weekend?

    Julie: It was alright, I guess; just the same old same old. I went to the movies and saw the sweetest movie ever! I was about this girl who was an orphan and she met this guy and…

    Andy: Yeah, I get the picture. (He says sarcastically) What is it, with chicks and romantic movies? All the guys in those movies are just big sensitive losers!

    Julie: Sure, whatever. I got to get to class, so I’ll meet you after school by your car, okay?

    Andy: Okay, if you insist.

    Julie: (walking toward class and thinking out loud) If you insist? What does he mean by that? Am I too pushy? Am I con–? (Before she can say controlling Whitney calls her name and breaks her train of thought)

    Whitney: Hey Julie! Yeah you, who else? So, did you hear about what John said to Rebecca over the phone last night?

    Julie: (looking puzzled) No.

    Whitney: Well, he was like, Rebecca I think your really hot, but maybe – okay are you ready for this? He said, Maybe for now we should just be friends. Okay, and that’s not even the worst part! That scumbag had the nerve to show up with Stephanie Cooper, this morning! I know, what a LOSER!

    Julie: (absentmindedly) Yeah, that’s great Whitney.

    Whitney: What!? Are you even listening to me, Julie?

    Julie: I’m sorry, Whit; it’s just that I’ve been going through a lot of stress lately, being ASB president, basketball captain, dealing with Andy, doing my homework. It’s just really getting to me, ya know?

    Whitney: Yeah sure Jules, whatever you say. Is that Danny Carmichael? Man, he looks good. Well, I have a pep rally to get to so I’ll t-t-y-l.

    Julie: Goodness! What is wrong with everyone?! I don’t think I can do it anymore. I just don’t

    Teacher: Miss Matherson! Do you think that you could pay attention? Although, you might be incapable of that, so if you could stay afterwards we can have a nice chat! Okay?

    Julie: Okay. (in a monotone voice)

    Teacher: (using a lot of hand gestures) Julie, I haven’t known what to do with you lately? You seem…distracted? Is there something wrong? Can I help in some way? You are so bright, but lately I’ve been thinking that you should be in Special Ed.

    Julie: What?! I mean, I have been distracted and tired lately. I don’t even know why, but I feel worn out and depressed. Like nobody’s listening to what I have to say, you know?

    Teacher: (glancing at the clock) Oh! You know what, Julie, I completely forgot that I have an appointment right now. Can we finish this later?

    Julie: Sure, it wasn’t that important, anyway. It never is.

    Teacher: Great! Remember, you’re special in your own way.

    Julie: (at the lockers) 22- 15- 35.

    Cindy: Julie! Hey over here. How ya been?

    Julie: Fine, just fine. How bout you?

    Cindy: Well, actually not to good. (Shakily) My parents (inhales) are getting a divorce. And I think that it’s all my fault! (Cindy starts crying)

    Julie: (Julie hugs Cindy) Oh, Cindy, it’s not your fault; these things just happen.

    Cindy: I wish I had your life; it’s so perfect.

    Julie: (shocked and angry that everyone thinks her life is perfect) Cindy! I’m sorry but I can’t talk right now. I hope you feel better.

    Cindy: What?

    Julie walks into the house and throws her backpack down.

    Father: Hey, pumpkin. You don’t look so good. How was your day?

    Julie: It was ok…(starts to cry). It was horrible! Everyone thinks that I’m so steadfast and strong and that I have this perfect life. But the truth is, I hate my life! There is no point in living anymore. I need help. No one will even listen to me. I’m tired I’m depressed, daddy, I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    Father: Oh sweetie. Come here. (Father embraces her) Everything is going to be alright. I promise you. Now, let’s go talk. (The two of them walk off stage together.)

Transitional Statement:
No matter how strong we are, or how mature our faith is, we all experience moments in life when our burdens seem to overcome us. It’s not necessarily an indication of weak faith or sin or punishment from God; sometimes, it can just be “life.” In those moments, we need to have a close enough relationship with Jesus that we can turn to Him for relief from our burdens. Let’s spend the next few moments studying what that looks like.

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: We all have bad days. When was your last bad day and what happened?

  2. ASK A FEW: How did you handle feeling what you felt?

  3. ASK A FEW: How do you think God looks at us when we’re down?

  4. ASK A FEW: How does He respond to us when we come to Him like that?

  5. Contrite or “kadda” in Hebrew means “to crush like powder”. When you’re being broken it can feel like you are being crushed. But God’s intention in allowing us to be broken is not to hurt or damage us but to break us open so the good inside (from Him) can spill out.

  6. ASK A FEW: What is the difference between being broken by God and broken by the world?

  7. ASK A FEW: The drama is called, “Rest Through Suffering”. How is that possible?…how can we rest through our hard times?

  8. Read the following passage:

      Matthew 11:28-30
      “Come to me, all you who are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

  9. ASK SOMEONE: What does Jesus say He will do for those that come to Him?

  10. ASK SOMEONE: How did Jesus describe His yoke and His burden?

  11. ASK SOMEONE: Can somebody explain to the rest of us exactly what a “yoke” is in the context of farming?

  12. ASK A FEW: Do you think Jesus can be trusted with our problems/burdens? Why or why not?

  13. ASK A FEW: What are some of the most common burdens we as young people bring to Jesus?

  14. ASK A FEW: Do you ever have the urge to keep your burdens to yourself? Why?

  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is a burden you are carrying by yourself right now?

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What will you do with your burden this week?

Wrap-up: Go around the circle and answer this question (leaders: have them write their answers on prayer if this is a particularly sensitive time in your youth group for some reason) –
What, if anything, are you broken over and what is the good inside that God wants to spill out of you?

*Leaders – If your students have opened up, this is a great opportunity to have a focused time of ministry with them. If you feel you need to go deeper, here are some options:

    Optional Scriptures, Points, or Questions:
    • It’s a known fact that when someone breaks a bone and it heals, it will not break in that exact spot again because it is now stronger than it was before the break.
    • It’s been said that when a fine china dish or cup is broken and a strong adhesive is used to glue it back together, if it’s done right, just like bones, it shouldn’t break in that same spot again.

    • Isaiah 57.15, For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit…

    • Can someone share a time when they were broken?

By Andrea Donahue & Danette Matty
Drama by Ashley Perez “Rest Through Suffering” was written by Ashley when she was a freshman in high school!


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; 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.


  1. Cecelia Thomas
    July 14, 2012 at 12:00 am

    I read over this agenda and it sounds great! I like that it has a skit with it too. I plan to use it soon! Thank you for submitting this!

  2. Cecelia Thomas
    July 14, 2012 at 12:00 am
  3. Alejandra Avalos
    February 18, 2013 at 12:00 am

    This is great information! I will definitely use it at my youth group!

Reply your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*