Heart Work – Week #3

Recap: We’re wrapping up our 3-week series on Heart Work based on  Psalm 27. Our heart can remain strong in spite of the world around us. A heart in line with God can be stronger than our circumstances, bigger than our future, and more than enough to help us through life. But all of that is only true if we’re willing to put in the work.

Scripture: Psalm 27

Icebreaker: What is one incredibly boring fact about you? (Sometimes there’s just so much pressure to name something interesting about ourselves, isn’t it?)

Focus Questions

  1. Read Psalm 27:9-10. David seems desperate and afraid that God will reject and abandon (forsake) him. Have you endured a time when you felt there was no way God could love you or want you?
  2. Describe a time when you were living your life focused entirely on your circumstances and that prevented you from hearing God. How did you snap out of it and shift your focus back to Christ?
  3. When someone tells you to focus on God’s promises, what are some ways you can find out what those promises are? What is a promise of God you cling to?
  4. Read Psalm 27:11-12. What did David ask for when enemies and false witnesses rose against him? Think about David receiving what he asked for; would there still be work for David to do? Or could David just sit back and let the Lord take over? 
  5. Read Psalm 27:13. When does David expect God to answer his prayers? 
  6. Name a goodness of the Lord you have seen in the land of the living this week. What makes it easy for you to see the Lord’s goodness? What gets in the way of you seeing His goodness?
  7. Read Psalm 27:14. Why do you think David repeats the need for us to wait?
  8. How are you going to participate in the hard (heart) work of waiting on God this week?

Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)

After every church service growing up, the kids would be ushered off to Sunday School while our parents ran off to grab cups of coffee and visit, returning an hour later to pick us back up. My mother always went to the home of my grandparents about two miles away where aunts and uncles gathered and filled themselves on coffee cake and the latest goings-on. There were times when the conversation and laughter overpowered the clock on the wall and my mother would swing in the church parking lot ten minutes after everyone else had gone home. Still, she always showed up.

One particular Sunday my mom was later than usual. After about fifteen minutes of waiting, our Sunday School teacher asked, “are you sure your mother is on her way?” All four of us siblings answered yes. The teacher had family arriving for dinner and she needed to leave to prepare. “We can wait,” we assured her. “She’ll be here!” 

Looking back, it never occurred to us to be worried. Instead, we played tag in the church parking lot, sang show tunes from the top of the church steps, and played the most epic game of I Spy we’ve ever had! From an outsider’s perspective (and, if I’m honest, from my perspective as a parent myself now) we were four children under the age of 8, all alone, left in a church parking lot in the middle of nowhere, with absolutely no form of communication. We had no cell phones, and the church doors were locked.

My mother finally showed up an hour later. She had had a flat tire and needed to walk to a nearby home to use their phone to call back to my grandparent’s house to get help. There were no apologies necessary because she did what she said she would do: pick us up, just as we trusted and believed she would do. 

Something has happened, though, over the years. The sheer act of waiting has become a lost art. A skill set diminished to the point of near extinction.

Long gone are the days where a slow pace was just a part of life. We’ve replaced summer vacations at Grandma’s Farm with jam-packed daily itineraries to see everything we can see. We’ve traded dinners around the table for food ordered through a speaker, delivered through a window and eaten in the car in order to get to the next activity on time. Results are expected to be instantaneous: next day delivery, refreshing computer screens to get test results, driving apps that point out expected wait times so those areas can be avoided. 

And when we find ourselves in a situation where waiting is inevitable, our attitudes crumble. We become impatient, annoyed, inconvenienced, frustrated, angry, put-out. We don’t feel we should have to endure waiting for anything or anyone. So how can we know how to wait on the Lord?

In The Treasury of David, author Charles H. Spurgeon writes: 

“‘Wait on the Lord.’ Wait at his door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy.”

Waiting on God is not passive – it’s work! And it isn’t easy. Psalm 27 shows the kind of anguish and energy that goes into a prayer of waiting.

Waiting on God means that we ask God for what we need and desire, but we leave the how and the when up to him. God and God alone determines when He will answer and what that answer looks like.  

Waiting is believing that God is good all the time and that his timing is perfect… even when we feel we’ve been waiting longer than we wish for His answer. It’s understanding that while we wait, God is transforming us, getting us ready to receive his answer. Waiting strengthens our character by teaching us patience and dependency.

Let’s look at Psalm 27:14 in the Amplified version:  

Wait for and confidently expect the Lord;

Be strong and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

God doesn’t want us waiting for Him all depressed and whiny, lying in bed bemoaning how miserable our situation is. God wants us to wait on and confidently expect Him. It takes action to be filled with brave and courageous hope (instead of doubt and despair).

Wayne Stiles explains, “Waiting is a very active part of living. Waiting on God, if we do it correctly, is anything but passive. Waiting works its way out in very deliberate actions, very intentionally searching the Scriptures and praying, intense moments of humility, and self-realization of our finiteness. With the waiting comes learning. I can’t think of much I’ve learned that’s positive from the times I’ve plowed ahead without waiting on God.” 

  1. What situation in your life do you need to put back or keep in God’s hands and wait on Him?
  2. What are some specific actions you can take to show your faith while you wait for God to answer your prayers?
  3. What might God be producing in you as you wait?
  4. How long are you prepared to wait for the Lord? 
  5. Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. If a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day, if you waited ten years for an answer from God, what would that be calculated out in “God’s Timing?” Does this math calculation help put waiting on God in perspective?