What’s the longest time you’ve ever spent waiting for something? How did you handle the wait? What did you learn from it?
In recent Wednesdays, we’ve taken the time to remember that God is still in the mission He’s put us on, even when we run into adversity or failure. Today we’re going to look at another kind of difficulty, which for some people might be even harder to deal with.
And that’s… nothing. We know what God wants to do, but right now everything just seems kind of dead. We might even feel kind of dead. But remember, it took time for God to grow his vision within us, so it’s also going to take time to see that vision grow outwardly.
Making God’s vision real takes a lot of work—in fact, probably a lot more than “what we signed on for.” It might take a while to see any kind of momentum, and even longer to see actual fruits from all our labor. But along the way, good things do happen. And when they do, we need to recognize them—not downplay or dismiss them simply because they’re not what we hoped for, but celebrate them. It’s the little victories that will keep you and your team going while you wait for the big victories God’s got in store.
Recently, we looked at how God got Jacob where he wanted him, despite Jacob’s best attempts to sabotage himself. In this session we’re going to look at a more classic example of patience—Jacob’s grandpa, Abraham. Not that Abraham didn’t sometimes get in the way of God’s plan through his own impatience. So let’s spend some time breaking Abraham’s story down in our groups.
Tab up, read Genesis 15:1-6, 16:1-6, 20:1-7, 20:14–21:3, then think about this:
• What mistakes did Abraham make while (or instead of) trusting and waiting on God?
• What things did Abraham do right? How did those things help fulfill God’s plans for Abraham?
• Which examples did you find yourself more focused on, the mistakes or the successes? Why?
• What right now has got you wondering, “Why hasn’t this happened yet?” If your impatience were to get the better of you, what would your Ishmael look like?
• What small successes could you focus on, while you wait for “this” to happen?
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Think about a time in your life when God showed up just in time—not your idea of “in time,” but God’s. Then think about this:
• Why does God’s timing in fulfilling his promises usually look so different from our timeline?
• How does remembering what God’s already done help us wait for what He has next?
• What’s one thing God’s doing in your life or someone else’s life right now that you can celebrate, while you wait?
Spend a little more time waiting right now. Just be silent before God, speaking to God as you feel moved to speak—or just continuing to listen. Wrap up your prayer time by thanking God for his patience with you. Ask God to help you develop that same kind of patience with others, and with the vision He’s given you, and to develop a deeper understanding that God’s time is indeed the right time.