Book Review: Seasons of Waiting

9781433549496Confession: I’m not very good at waiting. Patience is not a virtue I possess. And yet, here I am … waiting.

We’re all waiting on something. Some people are waiting on a job promotion. Others are waiting on a spouse. Some are waiting on a rebellious child to come home. And others—like me—are simply waiting on a child.

We wait. We pray. We cry. We hope. Repeat.

Betsy Childs Howard, an editor for The Gospel Coalition, understands this season of waiting. So much so, that she wrote a whole book about it: Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed.

By weaving together Scripture, theology, stories from close friends and her own insightful thoughts, Howard shows how waiting can be a sanctification process and also a representation of the gospel. She looks specifically at five common issues: waiting for a spouse, baby, physical healing, a stable home, and for the return of a prodigal (a rebellious child or unfaithful spouse).

She writes:

Waiting exposes our idols and throws a wrench into our coping mechanism. It brings us to the end of what we can control and forces us to cry out to God. God doesn’t waste our waiting. He uses it to conform us to the image of his Son. But sanctification is not only the purpose God has in mind when he takes us into the school of waiting. When we wait, God gives us the opportunity to live out a story that portrays the gospel and serves as a kingdom parable.

God may never give me a baby. He may never give you a spouse. You may never find physical healing. That is, on this earth. And that’s OK, because God sustains us. Just like the Israelites had to trust that manna would be there the next morning, we have to trust that God is going to give us grace and strength to sustain us each and every day, Howard says.

God doesn’t give grace in a lifetime supply. … God doesn’t allow us to stock up on his grace. He gives it to us one day at a time. We should want to learn how to wait well so that we can go on waiting well because we will always be waiting for something in this life. The Israelites lived on manna for forty years, and if your particular season of waiting lasts forty years, God will supply your daily needs. If you are walking through infertility, my question for you is, can you live the next twenty-four hours without a child? Can you trust God to get you through today? If the answer is yes, then you have what it takes to survive for the long haul. You just need to ask yourself the same question tomorrow. The same thing is true of every other season of waiting described in this book.  

 

Ultimately, Howard reminds us that we should want God more than we want the things he can give us. In this short, easy and encouraging book, you’ll find comfort for a soul that is weary and struggling with waiting. I give it 4.5 stars.

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