Editor’s note: Please join us for the Waiting Here for You Online Bible Study starting 12/4. We’re going to spend the Advent season waiting on Jesus with hope. Sign up today!
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. — Lamentations 3:25-26
From an early age, we grasp the idea of waiting... and we rarely like it. We are told by our parents (and others) that we have to wait our turn, wait until after dinner to get dessert, wait until Christmas morning to open all those wonderfully wrapped presents we see under the tree. As we grow older, we get more accustomed to waiting... but oftentimes we don’t like it any better. We wait to finish school and receive a degree. We wait to get the job we’ve always dreamed of. We wait for that “right” person to finally come into our lives.
We wait... and then wait some more.
You’re likely waiting on something right now. Maybe you’re anticipating an upcoming trip that you’ve been planning for months or expecting a baby to arrive. You might be anxiously awaiting results from the doctor for yourself or someone you love. You could be waiting to see if an important relationship will survive challenges you both are facing. As you wait, you may be facing circumstances that stir up feelings of impatience, fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.
The people of Israel understood what it meant to wait... and we can assume they didn’t like it either. God had promised through His prophets to send them a Messiah. But year after year, generation after generation, century after century, God’s promise did not come to pass. Yet, as we will discover in this session, this didn’t mean that God was doing nothing while they waited. When Jesus finally arrived, the Bible makes it clear that
- God had been working each and every moment to reveal His perfect plan at just the right time.
The same is true in your life. Regardless of what you are waiting on, or how long you’ve been waiting, you can trust that God is working as you wait.
If you or any of your group members don’t know each other, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then discuss each of these questions:
- How does your family typically celebrate Christmas?
- Why did you decide to do this study? What do you hope to experience?
Now it’s time to dive into the video for this session. Note any key concepts that stand out to you.
I. The advent season is about remembering that God will come through for us.
A. The story of the Messiah’s arrival on earth is a story of waiting.
B. God had promised His people, the Israelites, that He would send a redeemer.
C. Throughout the Old Testament we find prophecies foretelling the Messiah, including Genesis 3:15, Deuteronomy 18:15–19, Psalm 110, and Isaiah 52:13–53:12.
II. Four hundred years had passed between the writing of the last verse of the Old Testament and the arrival of Jesus
A. There was no prophet, voice, promise, or recorded act of God during this time.
B. But then, into the silence, angels appeared to shepherds and told of the birth of the Messiah.
C. What this says is that even in the silence — in the waiting — God is still working.
III. All of us know what it means to be stuck in a time of waiting... and we rarely like it.
A. You are likely in some place of waiting — waiting for a child to come home, a spouse to tell the truth, a test result, a pregnancy, a court sentence, a miracle to happen.
B. You may be waiting for the holiday season to end so normal life can resume.
C. We are not good at waiting, but the reality is that God is not often in a hurry.
IV. While we are in this time of waiting, we need to keep our focus on God’s promises.
A. We are waiting on many things, but what we’re really waiting for is Jesus to come.
B. When He returns to this world, He will put an end to the pain of this planet.
C. Advent is knowing that Jesus has already won and not losing sight of that truth.
V. In Revelation 21, we get a picture (and promise) of how it will all come down in the end.
A. We are getting a new Heaven and a new earth (verses 1–2), where we experience God’s very presence (verse 3), comfort, and joy (verse 4).
B. Everything that is currently wrong with this world we will be set right in that day.
C. This is where our season of waiting ends — the future that God has in store for us.
Discuss what you just watched by answering the following questions.
- We all know how Christmas is celebrated in our society, but how familiar are you with the tradition of Advent? What role has it played in your past Christmas seasons?
- As discussed in the video, Advent is about waiting in expectation and remembering that God comes through on His promises. What are you waiting on right now? What does it mean for you to wait in expectation that God will come through on His promises?
- The Lord promised that He would send a Messiah... and then His people waited in silence for 400 years for Jesus to arrive. Why do you think God made His people wait? How do you typically respond when you don’t hear from God as quickly as you want?
- Is there something significant that you continue to wait on God to provide? What evidence have you glimpsed, if any, that God is working while you wait?
- How does the birth of Jesus give you hope that God is actively working for your good and on your behalf, even though you may not be able to fully see it?
As you close out this session, take a few minutes on your own to consider what you are waiting on God to provide in your life. Write out a prayer to Him. Use the prompts to get started, but make your prayer as personal as possible.
- What are some things you are currently waiting on God to provide?
- How long have you been waiting for them?
- Which one takes priority for you or seems most urgent right now? Why?
- How do you usually feel about waiting on God to provide these things for you?
Praying for one another is one of the most important things you can do as a community. Make this time more than just a “closing prayer” to end your group experience by openly sharing your needs and how you’re asking God to come through for you. (If you feel comfortable, you might even want to share the prayer that you wrote to God in the Respond section.) Write down any requests mentioned so you can pray for them in the week ahead.
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Come share your thoughts on Waiting Here for You with us. We want to hear from you! And, be sure to sign up for the OBS starting 12/4!