Waiting on God’s Promises with Confidence – Advent 2023


In Advent we reflect on the world waiting on the promised coming of the Savior and the challenges that we face when in a season of waiting. This talk by Mallory Smyth focuses on God’s faithfulness in the covenant He established with mankind despite our unfaithfulness to Him. Mallory’s words will help fill you with confidence in the Lord as a Father who keeps His promises.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

My hope was never mistaken.

St. Therese

1.Do you believe that God wants your good and will fulfill His promise to you? What about during times of difficulty and struggle? Are you able to remain steadfast in your faith or does your hope in God tend to waver?

2. Like the Israelites waiting for the promised Savior, it can be difficult to see how God might be working in our lives during seasons of waiting. But looking in hindsight can help put the pieces together to make a magnificent work of art. Looking back on your life, when did the Lord show up for you? How has He worked in your heart and brought beauty from brokenness?

3. Is there something in your life you’re waiting for right now? What do you think God might be trying to do during this season? In what ways do you think He might be preparing your heart to draw closer to His?

4. How can you draw closer to God during this season and grow in confidence in His faithfulness?

Text: Waiting on God’s Promises with Confidence

Hey everyone, I’m Mallory Smyth, and I’m so grateful that you are joining me for this session on how to wait upon God with confidence. So let’s start in a prayer.

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Lord God, you are faithful and you always fulfill your promises. Lord, if there’s anyone in this relationship who fails and who is faithless, it’s us. And yet you still draw near and you still draw close to us. And yet it can be so hard to wait. It can be so hard to keep believing that you would do what you said you would in our lives when it can feel like you are silent or you don’t care.

Lord, you know who is waiting on what during this time today. You know the promises you have made, and you know what people are waiting to be fulfilled in their lives. Lord, and I just ask that you speak a fresh word of comfort in their lives and that you remind them that you were always there. You never leave. And eventually you fulfill your promises.

You did so and every promise you have made throughout history, and you will do so for us in our own lives. Give us the patience and wisdom to wait well. The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

A Moment When You Think God is Silent

Okay, so take a moment to imagine you are an Israelite, and it’s the year 5BC, which is five years before the birth of Christ, okay? And if you are being honest, you’re starting to have some doubts about this God thing. All right, you grew up in a family that has been devoted to the teachings of Judaism. You learned about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You learned about the history of your people under the leadership of King David. And you know the prayers, the scriptures, and the Psalms.

Your entire childhood, you learned that you are part of God’s chosen people and that He is going to send a Messiah that is going to bring victory to the Jewish people, redemption to the Jewish people. Right, but if you’re being honest, you’re starting to wonder where is God? Is all of this true? Because the truth is that in 5 BC, right? The last active prophet to the people of Israel was Malachi and he spoke 400 years ago. And even the Maccabean revolts that brought pride to the Jewish people, it’s fading into history as it was over 160 years ago, right?

And now it seems as though God is silent. He is not speaking. It’s hard to see how He’s working. Right, and yet, as you continue to go to temple and you say the prayers and you wait upon the God that you heard promised a Messiah, you’re starting to wonder, is that promise still on the table? Does God actually care? Does He care that His people are waiting and doing the best they can to live by His laws?

Right, and all the while that you are wondering this, all the while that you are starting to have these doubts churning in your heart and your mind, you have no idea that you are five years away from living through the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises. Right, as your heart is starting to doubt God is gearing up for His son, the Word of God to enter into this world and change everything from here on out. Right, and you are going to live through it, you are going to see it. Right, can you even imagine that you have no idea that as you’re starting to wonder, is he trustworthy? He is looking down on you saying just wait. You have no idea.

God’s Timing is Perfect

Right, if we think about this, this is the same temptation that we experience in our own lives, or we are taught growing up that God is good. Right, God is faithful. He wants your good. He’s going to make good on his promises in your life. And while things are going well, that can be either easy to believe or easy to forget about. Right, God wants my good, He promised good, life is good, right? I believe, or I just don’t care very much.

But we all know that if we live long enough, right, life will go awry. Tragedy will hit, curve balls will be thrown, right, relationships will break apart, hopes and dreams will go unfulfilled. And then we will start to ask the question, where are you? I thought you were good. Right, I thought you made good on your promises. It seems like you are silent. Lord, where are you in this? Do you care about what I’m going through?

During the season of advent, the Lord always invites me to meditate upon His timing and His trustworthiness. I’ll never forget when I was sitting listening to a sermon and I heard that there was a 400 year span between the words of the prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus Christ, 400 years. Like where was our civilization 400 years ago. Right, the same thing that the slaves in Egypt, right, the Israelites that were slaves in Egypt, they were slaves for 400 years Before God sent Moses to set them free.

And yet, right, And this is the crux of it. And yet the scriptures tell us that Jesus came in the fullness of time, which means that he came at the right time. That God’s timing, right, unbeknownst to us, we don’t understand it. But for some reason, God’s timing is absolutely perfect. In the fullness of time and at the right time, Jesus sent his son born of a virgin to save us. And so all of that waiting, right, what was God doing? Because if we really think about it, God’s timing is a mystery.

Waiting and Trusting God’s Will

The very first promise of a savior, the very first promise of a messiah occurred in Genesis 3, right, when Adam and Eve had eaten from the apple, had given in to the temptation brought about by the serpent. Right, and God is basically giving them their punishment. And in that punishment, he’s talking to the serpent and he basically says, “I will put enmity between your offspring and hers.” Right, he will strike at your head while you will strike at his heel. Right, and the church teaches that, that’s the very first promise of a savior. 4,000 years before that savior entered the scene. What was God doing?

Right, He was doing three things. He was revealing Himself. Right, and we can actually see that if we look at the Old Testament where he reveals Himself to Abraham, He reveals Himself to Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, right? And He continually reveals more of Himself to these patriarchs.

So He’s revealing Himself, right? He is preparing His people. He’s actually walking them towards a state of holiness, teaching them to follow His ways, preparing their hearts to receive a savior into their lives, right? And He’s setting up the circumstances of history. He’s developing history so that the Son of God enters in at the right time.

And this is what He does in our own lives. Right, in our own lives, He makes promises. And yes, He is good, and yes, He will fulfill them. Right, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, and we won’t suffer and we won’t wonder in the waiting. Right, Proverbs 3:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Right, what does that mean? That means whenever we have a desire that we want to be fulfilled, and it just keeps not getting fulfilled, right? That it actually starts to ache in our being, ache in our bones, and that desire grows and that the desire for it to be fulfilled grows even more. Right, and I cannot tell you how many times I have sat, especially with young women who are saying, “I long to be married. I long to be a mother.” Right, “And as I get older, I’m wondering, has the Lord forgotten me?” Is He just not going to fulfill this in my life?

And it always reminds me of this verse in Proverbs that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Right, but the hope in that verse, and what I often tell people who talk to me about this, is that when that desire is finally filled, right, when that hope is finally brought to fulfillment, that we forget about the sickness of our heart, right? It’s easy to forget about that waiting period and just how much it hurt. And so if we trust that the Lord will bring about the fulfillment of his promises in our own lives, we can also trust that the pain that we might feel right now will eventually go away.

Ask God: What Are You Doing Now?

And so I have to ask you, is there something in your life that you’re waiting for? Is there something broken that you long to be redeemed by God? Is there a way that you are starting to feel forgotten as if you were an Israelite in 5BC. Right, looking back and saying, “Where are you? Why have you been silent?”

Right, and I wonder if instead of saying, “Where are you?” you can look again and say, “What are you doing now?” Because the truth is that God was not silent in 5BC. He was preparing his people, He was revealing Himself, and He was setting up the right circumstances for that promise to be fulfilled. How might he be doing that in your life right now? Right, how might He be, right, revealing Himself to you, maybe in a new way, calling you to seek Him and search for Him.

Right, where might He be preparing you and your heart drawing you into deeper holiness to be able to receive the thing He wants to give you? And where might He be preparing the circumstances to receive His faithfulness in your life. Right, it’s possible that this is something that He wants to fulfill for you in heaven. And He is using that hope deferred to just make you a saint. Right, maybe the circumstances involve other people with free will. Right, and He’s doing all that He can, working on their hearts as well to bring about His promises. Right, but we can look to the history of the Israelites, the history of Christianity, and see that He always fulfills His promises and that He will fulfill them in our lives as well.

An Invitation: Wait on God’s Promises with Confidence

And so during this advent season, I just invite you to wait upon Him with confidence. Wait upon Him. Yes, maybe feel that pain and feel that suffering, but out of that pain and suffering, say, “Lord, I know you’re here. I will not doubt, I will trust in your timing and that in the fullness of time you will bring this about in my life for the sake of my good. Right, and look for the things He’s doing now and offer Him gratitude for those things.

That’s the beauty of advent. It’s a time of waiting, right? We are waiting to celebrate Christmas, and it’s a time that we get to reflect on the waiting that God’s people has done over our entire history and recognize that He always comes through. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to close in prayer, we’re going to have a little bit of an extended prayer, and we are going to meditate on the scripture, 2 Peter 3:9. So would you pray with me?

Closing Prayer

The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Come Holy Spirit, I ask you to speak to our hearts through these words that you would enclose us in silence, that we would hear the voice of God speaking to us through the words that he wrote down as a gift to us.

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Lord, I ask that you reveal to us personally in our own hearts, how you were not slow in keeping your promises. Lord, and if we need to change our understanding of slowness, I ask that you reveal to us how you want us to change that perspective and to change that understanding. I ask that you would reveal to us how patient you have been with us, who are the ones that are typically faithless. That your faithfulness never shifts, even when we fail you.

That you set up circumstances not wanting anyone to perish, but that everyone come to repentance. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. And instead, he is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Lord, would you reveal to us personally how you are revealing yourself in this moment, how you are preparing us in this moment to draw closer to you and what you are doing in our circumstances.

That we would be able to praise you and give you glory in a time of waiting. I pray that you draw our minds and our hearts to all the times in our lives that you have made good on your promises. That you have come through, that when we have experienced miracles. Bring us back to those times in our memory that they would give us confidence in what you are doing now.

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Lord God, will you reveal to us what you want us to repent from during this advent season? How you want us to come closer to you by getting rid of the sin that might hinder us from beholding these mysteries and trusting you completely.

Lord, reveal to us your patience and give us the understanding of time as you understand it, that you are outside of time, that your timing is perfect. And then in the fullness of time, you gave us exactly what we needed, yourself, on this earth.

Lord, I ask that you draw us to take advantage of the ways that you continue to draw near through the sacraments in the Eucharist, through adoration. That you are always drawing near to us, and that in itself is a fulfillment of your ultimate promise. That it’s not that we would not experience disappointment and loneliness and sadness and brokenness on this earth that we would not experience hopes unfulfilled, but that in the midst of that, that we have you, our savior, and that your presence is enough, that your presence will lead us exactly where we need to be, Amen.

The name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Thank you for joining me, and thank you for praying with me.

About Mallory Smyth

Mallory Smyth is a national speaker, writer, and content creator for Walking with Purpose. She is the author of the book Rekindled, and has also written the WWP Bible Studies, Reclaiming Friendship, and Rooted and Radiant.

Mallory has been in full time ministry for the past 11 years. She joined Walking with Purpose out of a deep desire to help women come to know Christ personally through the transforming power of His word. Having worked with college students as a FOCUS missionary, and now in women’s ministry, it is her dream to see Catholics fall deeply in love with God and grab hold of the joy offered in the Gospel.

Mallory lives in Denver with her husband, Jared, and their four daughters.

You can learn more about Mallory at www.mallory-smyth.com