I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week and that your Monday is going great! I was a little sad to send my kiddos back to school today. I loved having them home this week. I am definitely ready for Christmas break!
If you are following along during Advent, today we are reviewing week one. This week also reminded me of an old post I wrote last year about being in a waiting season of life. Click here to read it.
Alright, let’s get started!
Week one was all about hope.
Day one talks about waiting with hope. We started off reading Genesis 3, a story we all know well. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge annnnnd we all know what happens next. Sin came into the world and we were separated from God.
Advent means “the arrival.” During this season we remember what it was like to wait for Jesus. Did you know that God’s people waited for 400 years? I don’t know why that number just surprised me when I read it. I cannot fathom waiting for something for that long. It literally blows my mind.
When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, the 400 years began. Something that I found interesting was that when Eve had Cain, scholars believe that Adam and Eve thought he was the deliverer who would defeat the serpent that God promised in Genesis 3:15 (p.14). Can you imagine the disappointment when they realized their deliverance wasn’t coming through Cain? As the book says, their hope was deferred. How many more times would their hope be deferred? Many, I’m sure.
It makes me think about my personal waiting seasons of my life and how many times my hope was deferred. I know that I’m not the only person with hopes and dreams that seem unfulfilled right now. We are all waiting for something. And when we are in a waiting season, it can be hard to see God’s love for us especially when we feel like we can’t see Him working in our lives. Waiting seasons often make us feel like God isn’t near, like He’s pushed us aside and forgotten about us.
I love the quote share on pg. 16 by A. W. Pink that says,
“Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of His love, wait on him for more light. In His own good time He will make it plain to you.”
Our book puts it perfectly,
“In seasons of waiting, even if you can’t see it, God is working on your behalf. He is formning you into His image. He loves you, and He wants you to know Him more intimately. Though it’s challenging, let’s allow these seasons of waiting to strengthen our faith and fuel our hope in the coming Savior.”
Day two is all about having hope in the unexpected.
Isaiah 55:8 says,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
Plain and simple, we are not God. We were made in His image, but we are not God.
“Where we have partial or limited information in any given situation, God has complete understanding and is always working with the full scope of the facts. He knows what we don’t know, He sees what we can’t see. He takes into account things we never knew were there.”
Jesus works in unexpected ways and we have to trust that His ways are better than ours. I know that it’s easier said than done. Especially for someone as impatient as me, but I have to remind myself that He is working things out for my good. If He says wait, then I wait. If He says go, then I go.
In what area of your life have you forgotten that the God you serve is the God of the unexpected? How can you remind yourself of this truth? And what unwelcome or unexpected circumstances do you need to surrender to God fully, trusting that His ways are higher? (p.18)
Because of sin entering the world, we were in need of a Savior. And we see during the waiting period how His people turned their backs from Him. They gave up. Probably tried to do it themselves.
But I love what’s written on p.29,
Basically that if left to us, we would’ve tried to bring ourselves back to God in a million different wrong ways. But Jesus came to reconcile us to God through His sacrifice which was dying on the cross for you and for me.
“After all, it doesn’t seem like blood would make a person clean. Nor does it seem logical that wounds would heal or that death would produce life. yet this is the case with the Gospel–God, in His higher and heavenly wisdom made a plan to bring lost children back to Himself in a way that would turn all human expectations upside down. Instead of letting us be trampled for our treachery, Jesus came into our world, born as one of us, died on the cross, and took the trampling for us. There was simply no other way to reconcile us to God.”
And that is the Gospel. And that is why we can place our hope in the unexpected.
Day three was about praying with hope. Because Jesus died for us, we have direct access to God. We don’t need an in between person to take our prayers to Him. He hears us right where we are. He came to earth and lived like one of us. He knows the suffering and pain and temptation that we endure because He endured it Himself, yet was without sin. (p.23). Think about His life. He was betrayed, persecuted, mocked, ridiculed…yet never once did He speak up to defend Himself.
Instead He cried out to His Father. And because He died on that cross, we can do the same. In moments of hopelessness. In moments when we are mocked, ridiculed, betrayed, we can go directly to our Father.
He meets us right where we are. We can pray bold prayers. We can take Him at His Word. Because the Bible says that His Word will not return void. It will always fulfill its purpose in our lives.
“God is faithful to meet us at our point of need; He never leaves us empty-handed. His grace and mercy are abundant and present, no matter what.“
Day four we read about Hope in the silence. All God’s people heard for four hundred years was silence. Can you imagine? Maybe you feel like God is silent in your life right now…don’t lose hope.
It’s in those times that God is working in ways that we can’t see or understand. A lot happened during the four hundred years before Jesus’ birth. A lot changed. Hope and faith were low and they were convinced that they only thing that could save them was the Messiah.
“God, in His supreme wisdom, had the world primed for the Messiah. After years of not hearing from God, the Hebrew people were set up for the Word to come alive.”
Literally come alive. That just gives me chills to think about!
God was still working during all of those years. He was preparing His people for the Messiah. He was at work even when it seemed like nothing was happening.
In times of silence, we can be strong and courageous. Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us that the Lord our God is the one that goes with us and He will never leave us or abandon us.
John Piper wrote,
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
I promise that in God’s time, His purposes and plans will be fulfilled. Don’t lose hope.
Day five concludes with The light of Hope. After not hearing from God for four hundred years, His people experienced a lot of uncertainty and confusion. They needed hope and in Isaiah 9:2 they are told of a great light that would be coming. Isaiah’s prophecies were messages of hope for the coming of a light. And that light is Jesus.
Jesus said in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world and that anyone that follows Him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
And just like Jesus is the light, we can also be the light to those around us. Many times we feel incapable or not equipped to share the Gospel, but the truth is we are most definitely capable and equipped.
Yesterday at church our pastor reminded us that people don’t care about what we know, they just want to know that we care. We can make a difference right where we are. Right where God has us.
God didn’t use perfect people. He used the most imperfect ones. The ordinary ones. A prostitute and a murder he used. Don’t think for a moment that He can’t use you.
You can be a bearer of hope for people.
This week was so good. I really soaked it all in and even this morning when we met, there was more that God showed me. I would love to know what impacted you the most this week.
This week we are talking about Peace. Feel free to answer any of the following questions in the comments!
What from last week’s personal study was particularly impactful for you?
What do you think of when you hear the word peace? A lack of conflict, chaos, and confusion? A feeling of serenity or stillness?
We live in a world fraught with tragedy. Do you think it’s even possible to have peace in this day and age, when things seem so out of control?
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Paul wrote, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (NIV). Does knowing peace is available to you at all times change your view or what peace is?
As you close in prayer, ask God for a fresh perspective of His gift of peace. Pray for those in a particularly turbulent time, for God to grant them His peace that passes all understanding.
Thank y’all for reading! I hope your Monday is going GREAT!