A SIX-SESSION SERIES ON WAITING WELL
Welcome to this special version of the Wait and See Bible Study. I’m thrilled to be doing Bible study with you! And I’m so thankful that we get to work things out together and learn about this subject that has become such a passion and need of mine over many years—waiting well.
This Bible study is unlike any you’ve ever done. I kept you in mind throughout the entire creative process. You, the woman who wants so badly to study God’s Word but doesn’t know where or how to start. You, the woman who gets so excited to start a new Bible study but stops going to class because you didn’t get your blanks filled in. You, the woman who loves to study the Bible but doesn’t want to study alone.
This study is for you! Come with me to a Bible study without guilt and homework—the Bible study you’ve been waiting for!
This wonderful bible study from Wendy Pope works great as a personal study or a group study!
The study is broken up into three parts: The introduction, video, and study questions. If you are doing the study on your own, then set your own pace and take time to consider the questions deeply and honestly and allow them to guide you in your personal devotions.
If you are doing the study as a group, then decide what parts you want to do on your own and what parts you want to do together. You can choose to do the whole thing on your own and then come together and discuss your thoughts and answers to the study questions, or wait and go through the whole study together. To meet online, you can use video chat services like zoom, Skype or google chats. To communicate, you can set up a group chat, Facebook group, or even an email chain!
Be sure to download the video listening guide for all six sessions before you begin!
Want to go deeper in your study? Check out these resources from the Wait & See series!
Session 1: Joseph
Waiting well teaches us to trust God’s ways rather than doubt His delays.
“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined."
We meet Joseph at the time of his birth in Genesis 30:23–24, “She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said, ‘God has taken away my disgrace.’ She named him Joseph, and said, ‘May the LORD add to me another son.’” The Bible is then silent about Joseph until his life story begins to unfold in Genesis 37.
Let’s rewind to before Joseph’s birth for a greater understanding of the animosity the older boys had for their younger brother. Long before any children entered the picture, the person who would become their father, Jacob, fell in love with Joseph’s mother-to-be, Rachel. Jacob asked her father, Laban, for permission to marry her. Laban agreed, but on one condition: Jacob had to serve him for seven years. Jacob willingly got to work, and the seven years passed.
Sadly, Laban tricked Jacob by giving him Leah—Rachel’s sister and the woman who would become mother to Joseph’s older brothers. (I know … it sounds like a soap opera.) Jacob loved Rachel so much, he was willing to work for Laban another seven years to be married to her. Leah’s sons surely could have sensed their father’s great love for Rachel and his indifference toward their mother. All the details about Jacob’s relationships with his wives and the births of his children (including Joseph) can be found in Genesis 29–30. We then meet Joseph again when he is seventeen.
Even though we don’t like them, delays are sometimes necessary. God never wastes one minute of our wait. He uses the pause to show us that His timing and ways are completely trustworthy. If we wait well, God will use the pause to prepare us for the moment our wait ends. Joseph stayed close to God through his twenty-year wait. When his wait ended, I have to think that God said, “Well done."
Session 2: Moses
Waiting well looks forward to the future while staying present in the present
Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
Moses’s life and his contributions to biblical history are too vast to cover in one session. From his near-death experience as an infant (Exodus 1:15–2:10), to his murder of an Egyptian slave (Exodus 2:11–15), to the forty years he lived in Midian (Exodus 2:15–25), along with his face-offs with Pharaoh, the triumphant exodus from Egypt, and his exceptional leadership through the desert, Moses’s life could (and does!) fill a book. Therefore, we will focus our study on the segment of his life in which he most effectively demonstrated this session’s waiting well statement: his ongoing opposition to Pharaoh.
In general, waiting well is hard (I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement), but waiting well in the face of constant opposition can seem downright impossible. God directly revealed Moses’s future, and as soon as Moses reckoned with himself that he would obediently follow the Lord, opposition arose.
Our enemy, who wants us to fail, is no match for our God, who wants us to succeed! Our future is too great to sacrifice by allowing ourselves to become sidetracked by opposition—whether earthly or from other realms. As we learn to stay present in the present, God will help us overcome our insecurities and strengthen us, despite our excuses. When we constantly turn to God, we and our faith will be well equipped to complete the good work He has prepared for our future.
Session 3: David
Waiting well waits with God, not on God.
“But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
1 Samuel 27:1
Let’s look in on David nearly fourteen years after the prophet Samuel anointed him king. David knew the truth: God appointed him to be king. Yet, over a decade after that promise had been given, another man still sat on the royal throne. A man who had tried over and over to kill David. The years of running from King Saul and fighting for his life had psychologically worn David down. The singer and his harp were silent. We have no record of any musical musings during this time in David’s life. His stress had no outlet. David had hit rock bottom. The loudest voices he heard in his spiritual low were the thundering shouts of despair and discouragement.
We have all been there. Following hard after God, fully trusting Him for our future, but winding up falling lower than we ever imagined possible. How did I end up here? When did I make the decision to cross that line? Where did it all go wrong? The decline typically begins when we act on our own thoughts.
When we put the right stuff in, the right stuff will come out. Before long, our natural response to despair and discouragement will be positive encouragement as well as the overwhelming desire to seek God for the next step. It’s in the seeking and obeying that we experience God. This makes waiting with Him become second nature, not to mention a complete joy!
Session 4: Nehemiah
Waiting well is more about experiencing
God rather than enduring the delay.
"If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it."
A few lessons ago, we studied Moses and the impact Satan desires to make on our future. He is the enemy to all God wants to accomplish in our lives. Even though we can’t see Satan, he is real and confronts us with opposition. I know—it doesn’t seem fair, particularly when we are trying to wait well but are overwhelmed with all manner of opposition.
Grab on to this hope and tuck it deep in your heart: if the opposition to God’s work in our lives is excessive, then what God is trying to accomplish must be extravagant.
In this session, we are going to expound on the teaching points from the video. The points are too valuable and the text is too rich to gloss over. God wanted to accomplish something extravagant through Nehemiah, and his enemies knew it. His response to these antagonists will equip us to endure our delay victoriously, while also having the immense pleasure of experiencing God.
There’s power in the Word, but we can’t use the Word as a weapon if we don’t know it. Take time to read, study, and memorize the Word. It is our most powerful weapon against our enemy. I want to do more than just endure the delays in my wait. I long to experience God and to embrace every opportunity to know Him better. Don’t you? Nehemiah’s lessons on waiting well have equipped us with the tools necessary to do the same and to get to know God while He works on our behalf.
Session 5: Abraham & Sarah
Waiting well focuses on the Person of our faith rather than the object of our wait.
"Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir."
This session’s waiting well statement is by far the most challenging for me. It exposes a great weakness: my wants. When I have a want, I want it yesterday. Maybe you can relate.
Sarai knew what it was to wait. Her name was Sarai before God changed it to Sarah (Genesis 17:15), and she had been waiting for a baby all her life. Abram, her husband, whose name was changed to Abraham (v. 5), wanted an heir. It’s important to note the significance of their name changes. God had promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations and, therefore, gave him a name that meant “father of many.” And Sarai would be called Sarah, meaning “princess to many.” Yet even though they had received the promise and had the names to prove it, they were still unable to conceive. But God knew the desires of their hearts, and would fulfill their desires, in His time.
That’s the part about waiting that trips me up: “in His time.”
Our world tells us we don’t have to wait. We have instant messaging, instant mail, instant meals, and instant merchandising. With this kind of influence, it’s easy to see how waiting can create unrest in our spirit. The unrest causes us to lose our focus on the Person of our faith.
Through my years of waiting I’ve been mad at God, manipulated situations, and done the exact opposite of what I knew He wanted me to do, yet He continued to be faithful to me. I’m so unworthy of this life I live. But when we wait well, and our wait ends, we will discover that the object of our wait pales in comparison to the Person of our faith. This is truth. Underline it. Highlight it. Write today’s date in the margin, because when your wait ends, you can come back to this page and write “YES!!!” The wait is a reward, because in the wait we get to know God in a way we wouldn’t know Him if we never had to wait. Don’t rush the wait.
Session 6: Noah
Waiting well pushes through the pause by doing what we know to do.
"Noah did everything just as God commanded him."
Maybe if we added all the years we’ve been waiting on God; the total would equal the years this man waited. At the tender age of four hundred and something, Noah was approached by God concerning a building project. The world God created was corrupt and a huge disappointment, so He decided to start over. God told Noah to build an ark, that rain was coming, and that He was going to wipe away everything except Noah’s family and some animals. I feel sure Noah wasn’t aware that he was making a 120-year-long “yes” to God.
I have the attention span of a goldfish. When my waiting takes longer than a week or so, I’m ready to jump in with both feet and help God out. My family would have been washed away in the flood if the ark-building project had been assigned to me. Not Noah. He waited well and persevered by doing what he knew to do. We can learn a lot about pushing through the pause by examining the character of Noah.
While we wait, why not love others? Spend time helping those in need. Check with your local food pantry, homeless shelter, crisis pregnancy center, and church. Someone is in need today. People will know we belong to God when we demonstrate sacrificial love like Jesus did; then they will want to know Jesus too. When we wait well by doing what we know to do, whether it’s building an ark or taking food to a shut-in, the objects of our wait become less important, and we can push through the pause.
King David, while on the run from his enemies, cried out to God, “My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15). This is the best way to surrender the angst and anxiety of our wait. Indeed, Lord, our times are in Your hands.