Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her! — Luke 1:45
He has promised that we can have joy in the midst of everything that life is throwing at us. ~ Stasi
OBS Friends, You’re half-way through the Unwavering: Living with Defiant Joy Online Bible Study! Last week we talked about greener grass and the divine trade-offs God is inviting us into — from mourning to dancing, from addiction to freedom, from death to life! This week we’re diving into expectant hope… having hope when the wait is long. Are you ready?
A great good is coming. ~ Stasi
We will be able to wait with expectancy only if we believe that a great good is coming. It’s an exercise of faith. It’s an opportunity for our desires to not be quelled but to rise. For our hope to become heavier, more substantial, anchored more solidly in the belief that a goodness beyond our wildest dreams is coming to us when our Jesus comes in glory. ~ Stasi
What are you waiting for?
Waiting is sooo hard, isn’t it? We may giggle at how dramatic our kids or grandkids behave when they have to wait ten more minutes for something they want, but we’re just the same, aren’t we? In my foolish impatience, I would almost prefer God’s “no” to God’s “wait” because waiting takes spiritual muscles I’d rather not flex. Right?
In the waiting, we might even feel like the Lord has forgotten us. I wish we could chat with some of our Bible heros and ask them about their waiting. Did Sarah’s hope wobble as she waited for Isaac, the long-awaited child who made her laugh? Did Anna the widow get weary of the wait as she fasted in prayed in the temple? Did Simeon? Did Joseph? What about Leah? Or Hannah? Or the woman who waited for twelve years to be healed of bleeding? Or the heroes honored in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11?
We’re not waiting in vain, even when it seems like it. God has not forgotten. He sees.
Even when an enemy stalks you for weeks, months, or years as it was so for David. Even when worry, fear, pressure, and problems build up. Even when health fails, or finances dwindle, or dreams crumble. Even when people who should care about us work against us. Even when God allows in His permissive will for our situations to worsen or enemies to seemingly win for now. God is faithful.
Recently, in the middle of what’s been a long long struggle, I handed this hardship over to my Father and prayed a quiet “God, I don’t have any more words. Just show me Your love for me.” And, then I forgot about it and moved on. From then, it seemed that everything went sideways. Like the dam burst and all hell broke loose. Later, I sat up praying in my bed in the middle of the night wrestling God about the impossibilities and feeling… disappointed. In that frustrated place the Lord whispered to me, “Remember, you asked me to show you My love.”
It stopped me short. And, I leaned in to listen. “Well… yes Lord, I do.”
And the penny dropped. After waiting what seemed like forever, worrying and praying, and worrying and praying, God showed me that He had already been answering again and again all this time… just not as I had expected Him to do! He revealed His constant interference on my behalf that I hadn’t felt, showed His provision that I hadn’t seen, disclosed His protection that I’d somehow missed entirely. In a miracle way that is utterly impossible… But God. I was stunned. I thought for sure that it was so late that my brain was too wiped out to think straight. The numbers didn’t add up. The math didn’t make sense. The truth seemed… impossible… But, it was true!
I raised my arms in the darkness of my room, and worshiped Him with tears streaming down my face completely overwhelmed at the Father’s love. In the waiting, I hadn’t felt His goodness but it had been there the whole time. With me. I just hadn’t seen it until I asked Him to show me.
Friends, He is moving when we do not see it. He is forging steely, gritty, unyielding, defiant faith in us when the wait is long. Building our capacity for joy and thanksgiving, stretching our spiritual muscles, expanding our hearts, lengthening our arms for worship, elongating our spirits in perseverance and endurance, widening our faith and our hope, awakening our appetites for more of Him and relationship with Him that mature, strong, steadfast, deeply rooted in Gospel truth.
Are you waiting for justice? Waiting for healing? Waiting for rest? Waiting for reconciliation? Waiting for restitution? Waiting for a resolution?
God is faithful.
He will put every enemy under His feet. He will right every wrong, fulfill every promise, provide for every need, upend all injustice, rescue every last one of those who call Him Savior. He is faithful.
Think back and remember His faithfulness in the past. The Lord has done great things for us and He will continue until He rips open the heavens and calls us to Himself!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth… For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. — Psalm 57:5, Psalm 57:10
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session three on our study home page or live with other participants … Take notes in your study guide on pages 65-67.
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 68-72.
- Read Chapters 7-8 in Defiant Joy.
- Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 73-80.
- Come to the watch party on Monday at 8pm CST.
- Join the conversations in our private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
1 John 5:20
1 Samuel 22-24
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You that You are the God who sees us. You don’t turn Your back. You haven’t forgotten. And, You are working on our behalf even when we don’t see it. As we wait, we will worship. Help us to remember Your promises and to believe that You will fulfill them! We love You, Jesus. Amen.