Learning to Wait Well

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.

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Writing/Reflection Prompt: How much do you hate waiting, and what does it mean for you to wait well?

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Categories: Book Reviews

6 replies

  1. Waiting with Jesus has been the best place to be! 🙂

  2. After Derek, our son died very suddenly at 21, and still living at home, my ears began ringing. Maybe it was more of a kind of zinging and humming sound that electrical wires make that kept continuously buzzing through my brain. It was most disturbing, annoying and made it difficult for me to concentrate on other things. I prayed nightly for God to take this away, but there was no relief for days, weeks , months etc. This was my waiting room, but I was able to wait because I knew that God would work it out one way or other. He had, after all, just recently answered one of my first prayers after losing Derek, which was, “Please help me to cry.”

    I had only been able to shed very few tears and would only moan and slowly exhale my grief through my lungs but that was about it. Within a month God answered that prayer and I welcomed the salty taste on my upper and lower gums…a sensation I had not experienced in my life before …and believe me, I had done my share of crying through my earlier years!

    Well waiting in that “electrical zinging rooom” continued into years. I remember especially struggling with it on an airplane trip almost two years later and began thinking maybe it was related to anxiety or even part of post traumatic stress syndrome. I continued to pray in the waiting room, and as you say above, never felt that Jesus was not there with me. The years went by….and one day I realized that the ringing in my ears had subsided so slowly and gradually that I had not even noticed it slowly going away. I think that was the longest time that I have ever been in the waiting room.

    Even the regional pain syndrome, which I endured for three years after a bone was surgically removed from my left thumb near the wrist, due to bad arthritic pain, was not as long. However, the ongoing flaking of the skin over my knuckles on my left hand is a constant reminder of God’s grace in one of my more recent waiting room experiences.

    Being in these waiting rooms, I think has helped me not to worry about my husband’s ongoing health issues after he suffered a massive heart attack when the recently inserted stent that was to prevent a heart attack, totally blocked, Yes, 100%. He survived with 19% heart function left. The heart meds he is on are very hard on the kidneys and last year, after breaking his nose and getting it packed, was misdiagnosed. The fever, nausea, incoherency, etc.he experienced the day after was not his heart but septicitis. After I was called to take him home from the hospital, they finally got the blood culture results. He was put on three different kinds of antibiotics which were so hard on his already compromised kidneys that we were called back to the hospital’s emergency ward because his kidneys were now failing. Finally they put him on an expensive antibiotic which isn’t so hard on his kidneys. However the damage had been done and he has now been diagnosed as having chronic kidney disease as well.

    I know for certain that had I not gone through my previous waiting room experiences, I would be worrying way more. They were the rooms where I learned to simply trust God and leave my husband’s life and health in the palm of Hiser hand. Mm

    • Thank you for sharing, Maria. What a testimony to the lessons that come to us in the waiting rooms of life. Having a series of overlapping waiting room experiences presents an even greater challenge, yet what you’ve written is filled with trust in God’s grace. Your response is an inspiration.

  3. Maria, I was touched by your testimony, too. The good thing about responses is that we learn to know more about friends than we would otherwise. Thanks for sharing.

    My waiting rooms have sometimes been long, like waiting for answers to prayers for healing (Peter), or short like 2 weeks after my left kidney was taken out – painful 2 weeks. But then it was over and done with.
    Thank you.Lord. Then it is the years of waiting for painful family problems to be resolved. Still waiting. At times I can say, “Lord, they are yours. We dedicated each child to you.” The waiting resumes. And I still can’t let go! I am a mother.

    • Thank you for sharing about your waiting rooms, Mary – I suppose that waiting might sometimes feel more like a long hallway that seems to go on forever! Yet even as we wait, God continues to hold on to us.

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