God Works in the Waiting

by Jennifer Slattery

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 NASB

When God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers as I like, or according to my timetable, I can become anxious, discouraged, and frustrated. I’ve had times when I’ve become disillusioned. I can easily forget that He is always, always working out His glorious, life-giving plan, whether I see His hand or not. He works as powerfully through our waiting and periods of divine silence as He does through His miraculous acts.

As Christmas approaches, which I know will be hard, maybe even disappointing, for many this year, I’ve been contemplating all that occurred prior to Jesus’s birth. The longing, the waiting, and the loving, sovereign hand of God that worked through it all.   

The nativity story begins with a faithful, older couple named Elizabeth and Zechariah. Luke 1:6-7 tells us “Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.”

These two verses, sitting back to back, really hit me. They honored God, despite the deep ache they must have felt, despite their decades’ long unanswered prayers. And I’m certain both—the fact that they remained faithful to God and barren—provided comfort to so many others in their community. Those who were pleading with God, perhaps for children of their own, maybe for healing, or that opportunity that never seemed to come, were beginning to wonder if they’d perhaps done something wrong. Maybe they thought God’s delay or decline revealed His lack of favor was the result of some sin.

In those moments when negative thinking threatened to consume their minds, did they pause and reflect on the unanswered prayers of this well-known, well-respected, godly couple? And in their reflection, did they find the strength to wait just a little longer, and to trust that God saw them, heard them, loved them, and was working in their waiting, just as He worked in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s?

If you’ve read the full story, you know God did answer Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers in an awe-inspiring way. After decades of barrenness, He planted a mighty man of God in Elizabeth’s womb, the one who came in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for our Savior. I love that part of the story. I love seeing those miraculous, only-God-could-moments. But today, let’s sit in the waiting, that place we’re sometimes tempted to rush through, remembering that God is working, even there. He is with us, even there.     

If you’re currently in a season of waiting, may you sense God’s presence and His love. You aren’t forgotten.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a multi-published author, ministry, and the host of the Faith Over Fear Podcast. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, find her ministry at WhollyLoved.com, and find her podcast at LifeAudio.com and other popular podcasting sites.

In her new podcast, Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.

Join the conversation: How might God be using your waiting period for something glorious and life-giving?

Maker’s Gonna Make Something Great

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 ESV

Today is a slower day in many ways, but lately I’ve felt the pace accelerating. I watch my time. I keep an eye on my calendar. The red dots tell me that the dog days of summer are gone. And guess what? Just this morning I glanced out of the kitchen window to realize this: a new season is here!

Not kidding. A few short weeks ago a Maple tree in our back yard had just one red leaf. Now, its whole head is red. And doesn’t it seem like new seasons fall on us gradually—all at once? One day we just simply notice it. Green turned to orange, the heat fading away, and viola, sweater weather has arrived! There are other signs that a fresh start has come. Like: the kids are back to school. Although, it’s not the same return to normalcy as in seasons past. Because last week my daughter’s first grade student stared at his computer, searched his monitor side-to-side and wanted to know, “Where is recess?” Awe sweet, buddy, we’re looking for recess too!

It really makes a difference what we watch for, doesn’t it? What we wait for? I admit, I don’t always watch and wait for something good.

For instance, when my kids were little, you could not even get me to drink out of the same cup after them. Why? Because my eyes just sorta focused on all the goodies their precious sips might leave behind. I mean, what Mama doesn’t watch for it? Wait for it? Expect the yuck whether it is floating at the bottom of a cup or not? My glass wasn’t half-empty. It was half-full. Of yuck!

I admit, watching for the yuck tendency can spill over to other areas of my life if I let it. Like when the kids get sick, I can assume the worst, or I can anticipate the bad-bad when my husband has job stress. Or even, I can think the world is ending in a pandemic. If we watch for the worst, we will certainly find it.

One of the single most important things to look for is God’s good. In fact, this verse above from Micah tells us to watch and believe in God’s good to come while over and over Scripture encourages us to keep an eye out for that new thing God is doing. And if we ever want to observe God’s greatness in times of trouble, we can simply take another look at Revelation. Job’s misery and triumph reminds us—we have legit reasons to be joyful today. Most of us are familiar with his story. His season of suffering. Job’s wife? Way less than encouraging: she told Job to curse God and die.

Job had this to say to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2: 10 ESV). What a great reminder that—in the good and bad—God is still in it. With us. That’s why when I look out the window and watch the red leaves drop, I know there will be green again in the Spring. The falling away of leaves, of the economy, of…gulp…recess, well, it all makes way for something NEW.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18, 19 ESV). We can trust a God who throws down water in the parched land. Who is always at work with His graciousness for us in mind. Friends, we can trust that no matter the struggle, He has a good plan. God is in this. The good. The bad. And the…backwash?

Make no mistake—whatever that new and different is for you today—the Maker’s gonna make something great! I’m challenged to watch in hope for something fresh from God in my day and outside of my own window too. And I think that possibly, there is a chance, that I may have just found recess! Ahhh.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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Maker’s Gonna Make Something Great – insight from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

fix her upper reclaim your happy space

Join the conversation: Is God doing something new in your life today?

How To A Hit Curve Ball

by Stacy Sanchez

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 ESV

Hot and exhausted, fourteen sweaty (and may I say stinky?) baseball players and I sat in the outfield grass, eating orange slices and guzzling fruit juice drinks while regurgitating the details of our game.

“Wow! That was ugly.” The team’s shortstop blurted out.

“Yeah! We sucked!” The words spat out of my catcher’s mouth along with the orange seed he launched across the field.

I tried to encourage them in their accomplishments. “Yeah… that was a tough game. You boys just played your hearts out against a team that is way more experienced than you. They are older and have played as a team longer. I’m seriously proud of you all though. You guys just went up against a pitcher that knows how to throw a nasty curve ball. Until today, you haven’t even seen one. You were swinging at those pitches like you were swatting flies, but you didn’t give up.”

“How the heck are you supposed to hit a curve ball, anyway?” my youngest player mumbled, trying to mask a quivering lip.

“You wait on it,” I explained. “You can’t react to the pitch and swing as soon as you think you should, because the ball will break on you, and you’ll miss it. Don’t worry. I’ll teach you. It’s only the beginning of the season. You will get it, but it will take patience to learn, young grasshoppers. You will have to learn to wait.”

The curve ball is a difficult pitch to hit. When thrown correctly, the spinning of the seams tricks a hitter’s brain into thinking the ball is diving at a steeper angle than it is. The art of hitting a round ball with a round bat is already one of the hardest things for a young player to do, but add a spinning breaking ball into the mix? Forget about it.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV).

I don’t know about you, but waiting isn’t the easiest thing for me. When an out-of-the-blue problem comes hurling at me at eighty miles an hour, I want to jump on it right away and either fix it, finish it, or feed my face with food until it passes. Waiting is not at the top of my to-do list. I’ve had to be trained to wait.

The night Jesus was arrested, he told his disciples to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NIV).

With his arrest and crucifixion at hand, Jesus knew the boys were about to be thrown a curve ball. The disciples were going to experience the most gut-wrenching experience of their lives and needed to watch Jesus so he could train them how to handle it. What were they to do? Wait. Not react. Wait on the Lord for direction. (As it turned out, Peter would need a bit more practice with this one.)    

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7 ESV). What should we do when an unexpected crisis is thrown at us? Wait. The enemy would like us to panic and react right away. He would love nothing more than to see a child of God in a state of worry and confusion. God has taught us a better way–to wait. Don’t react, but watch, pray, listen, and wait on Him for what to do next.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Like my young baseball team learning to hit a curve ball, we need to practice waiting until it becomes second nature. So when a curve ball is pitched at us we will know how to knock the snot out of it. (That’s baseball-ese. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.)

Father, we know that we will be thrown curve balls in life. Whether it be an unexpected divorce, an illness, the death of a loved one, a rejection, a prodigal child, and now this viral epidemic, crises will come. Help us, Lord to not react right away, but, to wait on you for direction. Maybe you will have us do nothing but rest. Maybe you will have us swing for the fences. We won’t know until we wait on You for the call. Help us to wait.

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How To A Hit Curve Ball – encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: When was the last time God called you to wait?

A Season of Waiting…

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

“But me! I will keep watch for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”  Micah 7:7 CEB  

Imagine waiting more than 400 years for an answer to prayer!

That’s what God’s chosen people had to do – they waited in the dark, hoping for deliverance. Perhaps while singing their own version of “Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free…”[1]

In between the Old and New Testaments, the heavens seemed closed to the nation of Israel. God was silent. They thought nothing was happening. And likely felt their prayers for a Messiah were falling on deaf ears. Yet, in reality, God was still at work bringing about the perfect political and religious settings for the appearance of His Son.

God’s timing is always best. Even if it means we have to wait. We can always be assured that He hears us.

During those waiting years, the Jews had become unwilling subjects of the Roman Empire. They wanted more than just limited freedom to worship and hope. As they read the prophecies of the Old Testament, they dreamed of a Messiah who would finally arrive and restore them to the powerful nation they were in the time of King David. Surely this person would be a mighty warrior, a strong and larger-than-life hero!

No one was looking for a helpless, newborn baby. In a barn.

What are you waiting for these days?

Maybe for that feeling to go away? You know, the one that keeps reminding you that you’re not enough and never will be, the one where you are searching for something that will make everything else fall into place…but it’s just beyond reach? Sometimes I think I’m waiting to experience that Perfect Family Gathering with diverse loved ones all in agreement and full of praise for me as the matriarch (you know, when “her children rise up and call her blessed…”).

God knows.

He desires good things for us but often His timing is not in sync with ours. “We orient our lives to speed. We want faster computers, fast food, instant coffee. We want what we want now, so waiting becomes hard. Waiting in our prayer life and waiting for Christmas become disciplines we return to every December. For what do we wait? Do we wait for a baby to be born? Do we wait for peace to dwell in the whole world and in our fractured, busy lives? Do we wait for the rebirth of joy, a rekindling of hope?”[2]

Here are some steps I find helpful during those excruciating waiting times:

  • Write down your prayers and concerns for this situation.
  • Assure God you truly desire His will in His way.
  • Intercede in prayer for others you know who are also waiting.
  • Take the next step that has been made clear to you.

Why not choose to try one of these in these days of Advent? Keep watch. God will show up.

[1] “Come, Thou long expected Jesus” a hymn by Charles Wesley, 1745

[2] “Openings,”

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A Season of Waiting… – insight from @LucindaSMcDowel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

LucindaSMcDowell.19 (2)About the author: Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while helping people to choose a life of serenity and strength. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the award-winning author of 15 books. Whether co-directing the ReNew Retreat, pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages.

Lucinda’s latest book, Life-Giving Choices: 60 Days to What Matters Most, is a devotional book designed to help you discover what brings life, joy, and meaning. While there are myriad ways in which we can choose to spend our lives, only a few essentials truly matter. “Don’t settle for the good when you can choose the best.”

Join the Conversation: What are you waiting for?

Confident Dependence in the Face of Fear

by Jennifer Smith Lane

Last year my husband, an otherwise healthy man in his mid-forties, was diagnosed with cancer. The news blindsided us. Further testing led to the discovery of a second, unrelated cancer in his kidney. Another blow. This was particularly surprising because my husband is a urologist. Not only is kidney cancer his surgical specialty, it has also been the focus of his medical research for nearly two decades.

Suddenly our lives came to a screeching halt. Our world was turned upside down as a treatment plan was mapped out making the next six months look drastically different than what we had planned. If that wasn’t enough, during that same time, we had a water leak in our kitchen forcing us to replace all of the main level flooring, a close family friend died, and our son started having some health problems as well. I felt overwhelmed and afraid.

It’s one thing to say you trust God. It’s another thing to trust God when you are afraid.

Even though God had rescued me from my eating disorder and shown me that He was trustworthy, I still found myself afraid. Could I trust Him to bring me through yet another deep valley of suffering? “As for me, I look to the LORD for His help. I wait CONFIDENTLY for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me” (Micah 7:7 NLT). Wait confidently, with certainty?

When I’m afraid, I find that confidence and certainty are the exact opposite of how I feel. As I reflected on this, I realized I was afraid because I kept thinking the outcome rested on my shoulders when in actuality it rested on God’s. God was asking me to give my fears over to Him and trust Him, but I didn’t know what that looked like, so I turned to God’s Word for answers.

As I studied the Psalms, I was surprised by how often the psalmist prays in commands. Meaning when he prays, he doesn’t sheepishly skirt around his request. No, he pleads with God saying things like, “Save Me,” “Heal Me,” “Rescue Me,” “Help Me,” and “Vindicate Me.” I thought, how could David be so bold as to pray this way? It’s because David’s confidence rested in God, not in himself. David knew that the God he was crying out to was the same God who created the world and all that is in it. The same God who flooded the earth, parted the Red Sea, turned the Nile into blood, and performed countless other wonders and miracles. The same God who made up a plan to save all of humanity through His Son Jesus Christ. Even though David had a lot to fear, he prayed big because he lived in “confident dependence” (Hosea 12:6 NLT) on our amazing God.

We pray to the same amazing God David did. Don’t let fear hinder your prayer life by limiting our limitless God. The next time you’re facing difficult circumstances, pray like you remember how great God is and that He is on your side.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

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Confident Dependence in the Face of Fear – insight from Jennifer Smith Lane on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

jennifer smith laneAbout the author: Jennifer Smith Lane is the president and co-founder of the Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance, whose mission is to provide education programs to prevent eating disorders. In addition to her non-profit work, she leads an eating and body image ministry walking alongside women on their recovery journey and empowering them to find freedom in Christ. Jennifer, her husband, and three children live in Michigan.

Jennifer’s new book, Transformed: Eating and Body Image Renewal God’s Way, helps women identify the underlying spiritual issues that keep them stuck in eating and body image issues. It is an inductive Bible study that teaches tools to turn to God for rescue through the spiritual disciplines.

Join the conversation: What is it about God that gives you confidence in Him?