1. How were you affected by the following characters?
2. How does someone live a life that honors God? In what ways are you honoring God in your life?
3. Why do we have to face trials and pain? And where is God when terrible things happen? Consider Isaiah 53 and Romans 8:15–38, then discuss the insights these readings offer.
4. Is it wrong to doubt God in the face of suffering and loss? Why or why not? What does Psalm 44 say about that?
5. What can we do to prepare for difficulties? Read and discuss the following: Psalm 91:1–2; 119:11; 49–51; Proverbs 4:4; Hebrews 6:17–19.
6. Has something happened in your life that caused you to meet God as you never had before? If so, share your experience.
7. Each of us leaves a legacy by the way we live our lives. Consider the positive and negative legacies demonstrated in the story:
Dan: a legacy of faith
Jayce: a legacy of trouble
Marlin: a legacy of rage and crime
How would you describe the legacy your parents left you? The legacy you are leaving your own children? Or if you have no children, the legacy you’re leaving those who have known you?
8. Jayce’s past seemed to predispose him to a certain kind of future. But those who follow Christ should find their identities in Him, not from their pasts or even their families. What gives you a sense of self, of identity? How does the way you see yourself compare with how God sees you? Read Romans 8:1–15 and 1 Peter 1:3–4. What do these Scriptures say about who we really are?
9. Did this story change your perception about God’s justice? If so, how?
10. Shelby had to forgive Dan for hurting her. Too often it’s those we care about most who hurt us the deepest. If someone you cared for hurt you deeply, how did you reach a place of forgiveness?
11. It’s easy to look at a person like Marlin—or even Jayce—and write him off as unredeemable. But what kind of response does God call us to with people like this? Consider 1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 5:43–45; Luke 6:35–36; and Romans 14:4.
12. God called Dan to reach out to Jayce, and Dan’s obedience deeply impacted the boy. Do you know of a troubled teen or adult you can reach out to? If you’ve already done this, how was your life impacted by doing so? If you’ve felt the call but haven’t followed through, what is holding you back?
13. When our relationship with God slips, so do other areas of our lives. Consider the following emotions Dan felt and discuss how to deal with them: