Read His Words Before Ours!
Oh, the very goodness and faithfulness of the Lord!
Check in on how your heart responds to that phrase.
Celebratory? Enthused? Encouraged?
Or, perhaps, this Journey Study comes to you in a season where that sentence feels so very far from the truth. A season of waiting…maybe more accurately, painful waiting.
A season where more questions fall from your lips than victory cheers.
Where are You, Lord?
Why did You give this to me?
Why did You take this away?
Regardless of heart motives, I’m so thankful our “why” questions are embraced by God; He faithfully draws us close in our questioning. Still, nowhere in Scripture does He promise to reply in the manner we might hope.
Yet, even in this space of unknowns, we can praise the God who carries us through our uncertain seasons of waiting as He actively works to soothe our fears and cultivate our faith. His strength is endless, His power limitless, and His pen authors the best stories every single time.
Waiting is a vital part of any story.
How we choose to wait often determines the level of joy contained throughout our journey and, in many cases, it impacts the story’s end. Such was the case for Anna and Simeon, two faithful saints of the Lord who demonstrated faith-filled waiting. Though the waiting period yawned before them, they fixed their gaze on the unchanging Yahweh, Lord of All. They daily sought His presence, choosing to dwell with Him instead of the land of fear and doubt.
Anna and Simeon waited for the long-ago-promised Messiah. Finally, on a seemingly ordinary day, as they sat again in the Lord’s presence at the temple, their faith was turned into sight as they beheld the infant face of Christ Jesus. They beheld the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord God wrapped in wrinkly days-old skin.
Precisely because they had spent their waiting in worship,
they were familiar with the Spirit’s pressing.
Finally, here was the goal of their faithful waiting.
Though the whole nation of Israel had waited centuries, they missed the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise. They neither welcomed the wee Christ, nor did they worship as He performed miracles and declared Himself to be the Messiah. Israel waited, just as Simeon and Anna had, but the difference was their “how”.
Israel sought a king they could control; one who would fulfill their expectations.
The humble in heart welcomed the King they already worshipping while they waited.
Like Israel, like Simeon and Anna, we each can choose how we wait in our seasons of mystery, pain, and seeming endlessness. Will we focus our hearts more on receiving the promise or on worshipping the Promise Keeper?
Though I have much to still learn about waiting well, over many seasons of waiting, the Lord has faithfully taught my heart to worship in the waiting; He has shown me the joy to be discovered if we wait on Him.
I had been single for several years and sensed the Lord leading me to a specific man as my future husband. In a story that would take far longer than I could recount here, the Lord walked me through years of listening and obeying; these became my praise to Him. I continued praying for this man, and many fellow Christians prayed alongside me, until finally I asked the Lord for a clear answer the next time the two of us interacted. When I saw him again, I mentioned an interest in getting coffee, but he didn’t set up a date. As we turned to go, he exited through one door, and I turned towards a glass one, but realized too late that it was a pull exit instead of a push door. I walked full force into the see-through glass, but instead of feeling humiliation at my clumsiness and grief over losing this man, laughter bubbled out. After years of waiting and praying, I found myself filled with joy and laughter.
I had waited well, and the evidence was the Lord’s joy showing up against all odds. The outcome wasn’t what I had envisioned, but the Lord had given me the same gift He had given to Anna and Simeon and all who waited for the Messiah with humility, Himself.
In that specific season I had learned to know His voice better and lay my plans at His feet. I wonder how often Anna or Simeon doubted the Lord would show Himself to them as they waited, yet still, they came to Him each day at the temple, expectantly waiting with open hands to receive whatever He had for them.
These were sacrifices of praise.
I’m now married, with a little one on the way, to a man the Lord had been preparing for me all along. As I feel tiny kicks inside, I am reminded again that the Lord writes the best stories. His storyline taught my heart to trust and worship Him regardless of plot twists. He was faithful to Simeon, Anna, and even to Israel, though they rejected Him, and He continues to be faithful to all who humbly seek Him.
Delight yourself in the Promise Keeper, Sister.
Learn the rhythm of worshipping while you wait and joyfully discover His faithful goodness that will never fail!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!