Have you had a time in life when you thought you knew what was best?

How about a time when you knew what the outcome was going to be, yet it didn’t turn out to be quite as expected?

We ask God for so much and expect it all to happen right away. We ask God for something, yet we really have no idea what we really need.

We all know that God is the only one that knows what we truly need and when we need it.

Use the lesson to help preteens in your ministry strengthen their faith in God, trusting he knows best.

Help them see that life might not always turn out the way they thought, but God sees the big picture. He’s in control, not us.

– Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry


Written by Rob Quinn


Bible: Proverbs 16:9; 19:21

Bottom Line: Life might not always turn out the way we think it should, but God sees the big picture. He’s in control, not us.



  • Balloons
  • Pennies
  • Nickels, dimes, quarters
  • Markers


Before your preteens arrive, put a different coin, or amount of coins, in each balloon.

Blow up different sizes of balloons – so they all look different.

Divide preteens in groups of 8-10.

Before the game starts, preteens will go to the balloon pile and choose which one they think is most likely to win.

They will do so by writing their name on that particular balloon.

Once all the players have marked a balloon, have them stand along the wall on the opposite side of the room.

On GO, one person from each team will race to the balloon pile and try to get the balloon they marked and return to their team.

If they do not get their own balloon, it’s okay, they can just choose another one.

After all the teams have a balloon, have students pop them and collect the coins.

Ask them how much the total coins are worth, which team has the most, and who has the least.

Explain to students that the object of the game isn’t what they thought.

Ask them to see who has the oldest coin, and the team with the oldest coin wins a prize.

Allow players time to collect all the coins and split the money between them.


Say: It was exciting to watch as balloons were flying everywhere!

Congratulations to the winning team!

Discuss the following questions:

● So what wasn’t fair about this game?

● How has your life been unfair lately?


Here’s what we can learn from this game:

You had no idea how to win the game.

You might have thought you knew, but you were probably wrong.

Just like in life…

You think your way is the best way, but only God knows the best way.

You need to have faith that he knows what is best for you.

Lets read the following verses out of Proverbs.

Read Proverbs 16:9.

A man’s heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps.

Read Proverbs 19:21.

There are many plans in a mans heart, but Yahweh’s counsel will prevail.

Say: God tells us that no matter what we think is best, God knows what we need and when we need it.

He will guide us.

When we begin to place our trust in ourselves, or others, we are not choosing what is best – God’s way.

We think we know what we need and how to get it.

We try to control things because we think we know what is best.

God designed us to rely on Him.


● Has anyone ever asked God for something and it didn’t happen?

● Is anyone willing to share this with us?

● How did you feel?

Thank anyone willing to share with the group.

Share about a time in your life when you asked God for something and it didn’t happen – a parent dying, divorce, losing your job, etc. 

Open up to your preteens and let them know how you felt and what was going on in your head.

Maybe you didn’t understand why things turned out the way they did.

Say: There are times in our lives when we want something so bad, but maybe it’s not what is best for us.

Only God knows what is right, and we need to have unwavering faith in Him.

Get into groups of 4-5 preteens and have them pray with each other. Here are a few prompts to get them going:

● Pray for understanding.

● Pray for unwavering faith when we think we deserve more.

● Pray for God to lead them.

● Pray for an open heart to what God knows is best.

Like this lesson? Be sure to check out our brand new 4-week preteen series – Jesus’ Parables:

Lesson on Faith written by Rob Quinn. Rob has nearly 10 years of experience in preteen ministry and is currently a junior high pastor. He is married to an amazing woman Jodi, who just so happens to be the Children’s Ministry Director at his church. They have one beautiful daughter Sydni, and an 8-pound attack dog named Lilly.

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