Trust God When Things Look Bad (CHALLENGE)


10-15 minutes

This Challenge is a fun visual that reminds kids to trust God even when circumstances are looking bad. There is a little bit of “magic” and a little bit of science in this lesson that gives it some “Wow!” factor. Participants will create a water-suspension trick using some simple supplies.



  • Genesis 37 to 45
  • Romans 8:28



  • Canning jar (“Mason jar”) with a screw-top lid and a removable insert – 1 per person with one extra for the group leader
  • Small piece of screening (like what covers your windows – enough to cover the top of the canning jar) – 1 per person with one extra for the group leader
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 for group
  • Piece of poster board – 3” x 3” – 1 per person
  • If you don’t want to make your own jars, you can order them for approximately $10 each from Steve Spangler Science (  It’s called the “Mysterious Water Suspension Trick.”
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Trust God When Things Look Bad – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group



  • Cut the piece of screening so that it fits over the opening of the jar.  You want some overlap so that the lid will hold the screening securely to the jar.
  • Screw on the band part of the lid, but leave the removable insert out. (Only for the leader’s jar.  The participants will do their own.)
  • You might want to laminate your poster board square but only if you plan on using it multiple times.
  • Practice the trick.  Flipping the jar upside down is the most challenging part.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Put the small pieces of screening and the pieces of poster board in each Ziplock bag.
  • Practice the script.



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Trust God When Things Look Bad” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “So, who’s thinks they have a strong faith in God?”  (Listen for responses, and select the most enthusiastic participant to come up to the front.)
  • (To the participant…)  “You think you have a strong faith in God, right?” (While you are asking, pour water from the pitcher into your demonstration jar.  Don’t let them see the screening over the top.)
  • “Do you feel like you even trust God when things look bad in your life?”  (While you are asking, place the poster board square on top of the jar.)
  • “Could you trust God like Joseph did even after he was sold into slavery and then thrown into prison?”  (While you are asking, flip the jar and the poster board square upside down, and hold them over the child’s head.  Keep your hand under the poster board square so that it looks like you are supporting it.  In reality, the water droplets inside the screening and the air pressure pushing up on the poster board will hold the card in place.)
  • “I would say things are looking pretty bad for you right now.  Are you still trusting God?”  (Listen for response.)
  • “Would you trust God to keep you from getting wet if I were to pull this card away?” (Listen for response, then, with as much drama as you can muster, pull the card away.  The water will stay in the jar.  The water droplets develop surface tension inside the tiny holes in the screen.  This and the fact that if you hold the jar perfectly level, no air can get in to replace the water that leaves, will hold the water in.)
  • “Wow!  I’m impressed that you are still here!  You really do trust God when things look bad!”  (Tilt jar just a little, and some water will pour out until you level out the jar again.  Participants usually get a big kick out of their peer getting wet.)
  • “Oops.  There’s a lesson in this.”
  • “Trusting God doesn’t mean that bad things won’t ever happen.  Trusting God when things look bad means that you trust Him to get you through the bad times.”  (You can thank your volunteer and send him/her back to his/her seat.)
  • “Sometimes, things look really bad, like when I held the jar of water over his/her head.”
  • “Remember during those times to trust God.”
  • “He has the ability to do the impossible in your life (like stopping gravity), but even when He doesn’t stop the bad stuff, He can turn the bad stuff into good.”
  • “The Bible says that God will make EVERYTHING work for you if you know Him as your heavenly father.  That means good stuff and bad stuff will turn out good for you!” (Romans 8:28)
  • (After your lesson, tell the participants how the trick works.  Then, let them make their own water suspension jars and try them out.  The jars can be made by putting the screening over the glass opening of the jar and then screwing the lid (without the insert) over the screening.)
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can help them forgive.)



Debriefing Questions


  1. Why do you think Joseph was able to trust God when things looked bad?
  2. Have you ever trusted God during a really difficult time in your life?  What happened?
  3. How could you trust God more during difficult times in the future?


Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream;

My present struggles are more than they seem!

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Filed under Challenges, faith, Joseph, Object Lesson, Trust

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