We hope you enjoyed The Longing in Me Bible Study as much as we did!
One of the reasons I love Sheila Walsh is that she always dives deep personally. She’s not afraid to tell the nitty-gritty of her story. The stuff most of us wouldn’t want to share with others because it’s so deeply personal, Sheila reveals openly with grace and candor because she wants us to know that we’re not alone in our struggles, we’re not the only ones who have messes, and we’re not the only ones who grapple with “How did I get here, Lord?”
Sheila is brave that way because she so desires for us all to have the same level of healing and freedom she received and for all the glory to go to God. And she helps us to be brave in sharing our stories (even, or maybe especially the failures) with others, too.
Thank you, Sheila, for your willingness to seek God in the most intense longings of your heart and most broken places of your history. Thank you for bringing the story of King David to life highlighting when the deeps longings that we all share were pointed towards God made him a man of great character, integrity, strength, and success, and when those longings were not satisfied by God all hell broke loose and David showed God “utter contempt”! What powerful lessons we learned through this study about what to do when the sacred aches in our lives feel overwhelming.
Here’s a look back at everything we’ve learned over the last six weeks:
In week one, Longing to be Chosen, we looked at young David’s seeming insignificance and the fact that God chose him — the unexpected one. Sheila shared this amazing quote that has stuck with me:
No matter how great your longing is for God, it will never, ever compare to His longing for you.
In week two, Longing to be Protected, we studied David’s encounter with the terrifying behemoth Goliath. When everyone else failed him, David learned that God would always protect him.
In week three, Longing for Control, we watched David alternate between seizing control and surrendering control to God (so many of us related to this one!). If we’re going to go on with Jesus, we must learn to pray as Barbara Johnson taught, “Whatever, Lord!” understanding that God is good, that He loves us, and that we can trust Him with the timing.
Self-surrender has, of course, to be continually repeated. — C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans
In week four, Longing for Happiness, we read the cautionary tale of David’s affair with Bathsheba that led to a pregnancy, and then unthinkably to a plot against her husband, Uriah the Hittite, and even to his murder. We dug into the fact that every single one of us is capable of the worst kind of wickedness imaginable if our hearts wander into utter contempt for God. Our “if only’s” are never worth it.
In week five, Longing for God’s Grace, we studied why King David was called “a man after God’s own heart” — he repented! When confronted with his sins, David broke and humbled himself before God with all of his heart. Beautiful! It didn’t erase the terrible repercussions for David and everyone around him, but it brought him back into peace and relationship with God. David modeled how to behave when we have sinned, even egregiously and irreparably. We have the great privilege of taking full responsibility and falling on our faces before God and saying I have sinned against You. And, God’s grace pours over us! Hallelujah!
Finally, our week six lesson, Longing for God Alone, was so filled with hope! No matter what our histories hold, no matter how far we may have wandered, no matter how we may have tried to find happiness or satisfaction for those primal longings and restlessness, we can always turn around and find God right there ready to be sought and found.
The most powerful take-away for me from this study was just one word: repentance. David showed that he was a “man after God’s own heart” in that when confronted with his sin, he fully repented! And, that raw and real repentance brought him back to peace with God.
Just as in King David’s life, it’s not how we begin that really matters; it’s how we finish. We have the joy of walking forward with the Holy Spirit as our guide increasingly becoming a woman or man after God’s own heart.
* * *
What was your most important take-away from The Longing in Me? Join us in the final conversation and share your story about what has made the most impact on your during this study!
~ Laurie McClure, editor, Faith.Full
Final Week to Watch the Videos
If you’re still catching up with the videos, our friends at Study Gateway have unlocked them all for one more week only and are making them available through Sunday, May 29 (with your login). This is catch up week! After that, you can access the videos anytime with your Study Gateway individual subscription – which you should definitely get!
Save the Date
Announcing our summer 2016 online Bible study… When God Doesn’t Fix It with Laura Story!
You are going to have such a life-changing experience studying God’s Word and learning from Laura Story, a Grammy-award winning artist and worship leader who also happens to be an awesome Bible study teacher! Registration opens later this week so watch for your email and the OBS Facebook group page for announcements. We hope you will join us!