Expect Great Things!
4- Week Bible Study –
Based off of the book, “Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children”
Available on Amazon
Click here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B016OKS7NG
Last week, we talked about some of God’s promises that we can stand on to strengthen our hope. We can cling to these truths because
“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19)
But what about when a promise, our hope, takes a loooooooooong time to come?
In Genesis 15, God promised Abraham a flesh-and-blood son. In chapter 18, twenty-four years later, God reiterates that promise within Sarah’s earshot.
Twenty-four years later.
And she laughs. “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12)
Twenty-four years had passed since the first mention of the promise, and nothing.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).
Over the course of twenty-five years between The Promise and Isaac, Sarah began to lose hope. She was heart-sick. Her belly never grew. No baby cradled in her arms. That skeptical laughter echoed into many childless years. Satan took hold, I’m sure, and whispered lies of God’s unfaithfulness.
It’s literally the flip of the page in my Bible from God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 15) to Sarah taking matters into her own hands, offering her maidservant as a substitute to her husband (Genesis 16). Her lack of faith, her impatience, her distrust, and her hopelessness in God’s promise has so many implications, even to this current day. (And Abraham went along with the plan!)
Have you ever been there?
Head full of fear that God isn’t who He says He is?
Or that somehow He forgot you?
Abandoned you to attain your hopes and dreams your own broken way?
That for some reason, you aren’t good enough. Loved enough. Beautiful enough. Smart enough. Special enough.
And you’re on your own.
Oh friend, how much-broken life I’ve lived under these lies!
How many decisions were birthed from this shattered, empty place?
Decisions, like Sarah’s, that will always mark seasons of my life.
Yet we can flounder, make awful choices, act on our impatience and disbelief, and still have a seed of faith.
Faith as small as a mustard seed.
I like to call that seed hope.
Hope, that maybe, just maybe, the promise is still coming.
John Piper says, “Biblical hope is not a mere desire for something good to happen. It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future… When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.’”
Hope = Expect great things from God!
Sarah, perhaps amidst doubt and fear, chose to expect great things from God.
“And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11).
Somewhere in all of her fear and cynicism and disappointment, she knew God could do it.
And He did.
And He was perfectly on time.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness” (2 Peter 3:9a).
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakuk 2:3).
There have been many times when I’ve been sure that God was late and maybe wouldn’t even show up. Now, on this side of the gift, I have a clearer vision to see that God’s timing was exactly what I needed. We don’t always get to understand His timing, but we can trust His Word that it’s never late.
I’ve said it all month, and I’ll say it here too:
Our hope comes from His love.
His love is everything for who we are.
When we lose sight of who we are, the truth, we lose hope.
We believe the whispers that we’ve been forgotten, passed over, not chosen, uninvited.
These are lies, sweet sister.
What appears to be God’s delay is only our short-sightedness.
His timing tests our belief that God will do what He says and be who He is.
Time and again, with great patience, He will prove Himself.
And prove us loved.
This is how we reclaim our hope. This is where we stake that flag into fertile soil.
We awaken our sleeping hearts and embrace, truly and deeply embrace, that He is El Roi, the God who Sees.
We remember that we are loved. That we belong.
Will you join me in reclaiming hope?
Will you expect great things from God?
Take some time today to lift spaces of waiting in your life up to God’s throne room.
Talk to Him about where your heart feels sick with longing.
Share your despair, then bask in His attention.
Reclaim your God-given hope at His feet today!