I was immediately drawn to the title of Sharla Fritz’s new book: Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust (Concordia, 2017), so of course I couldn’t wait to share it with you. And yes, I’m quite aware of the contradiction in that sentence about waiting and not waiting–which is why I’m thoroughly enjoying Sharla’s book.
I love the way she tells her own story and relates it to the women of the Bible that she features. So far my favourite is Sarah (When Waiting Becomes a Do-It-Yourself Project), and I’m especially looking forward to the widow of Zarephath (When Waiting Is on Your Daily To-Do List) and Esther (When Waiting Doesn’t Mean Doing Nothing). There are eight chapters in all, with background information and timelines to help readers reflect on each woman’s story, plus questions for further reflection and discussion.
Here’s more about learning to wait well in Sharla’s own words:
In our modern culture of instant everything—same-day shipping, streaming movies, online banking, microwaveable meals—we are accustomed to getting everything we want now. So when our lives are put in a holding pattern, we complain and grumble and do anything we can to get things moving again. But even though we hate to wait, God seems to love it.
Time and again we find in Scripture that God asked people to wait. Sarah waited for a child. Joseph waited to be released from prison. The nation of Israel waited to be freed from slavery.
Why does God ask us to wait?
Because it turns out that the waiting rooms of life are actually God’s best classrooms. Our lives slow down and we re-evaluate what is truly important. The Holy Spirit changes us and the Lord draws us near. We learn lessons we miss when our lives are flying at the speed of a Boeing 777.
When I give presentations on the topic of waiting and talk about my struggles in life’s waiting rooms, someone always comes up to me afterwards and tearfully shares her own waiting story. So many of us feel stuck and wonder, “Why the delay?” “Why can’t I have the answer to my prayer now?”
To help myself and others, I wanted to spend some time with the topic of waiting and study how women of the Bible handled their waiting periods. I wanted to discover what God desired of us in these seasons of delay.
I learned that when we are in waiting period we have a choice. Often, we hate waiting because it seems there is nothing we can do. But there are options. The first option was my default mode of operation when God said, “Wait.” I would tap my toes and grumble that life is not moving along according to my plan.
But as God put me in more and more waiting rooms, I learned that there is another option. Instead of complaining about delay, I can view my time of waiting as an opportunity to grow in trust. To relinquish my self-sufficiency, sit back, and watch God work.
Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust is available at CPH.org and Amazon. Buy on launch day, June 21, between 8am and 8pm CDT, and receive a free bonus of Sharla’s 12-week eCourse: Easy Joy: 12 Places to Find Joy in a Discouraging World (a $15 value). Just click here and enter your order number from CPH or Amazon.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: How much do you hate waiting, and what does it mean for you to wait well?
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