As I was gathering some more books to refill the display on doubt and fear, I came across a book I read a few years ago on waiting. I thought I’d review it to see if there was something that might speak into my current circumstances.
What I want to share with you are some of the highlights of that book that I’m mulling over and living out.
Waiting is not the same as complacency. A. W. Tozer said, “complacency is a ‘self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Waiting is an active process. A lot is going on, but this work can take a long time and much of the work is happening in our innermost being and so it might be some time off in the future before others can see the fruit of waiting.
Waiting provokes wrestling, which is to ‘engage in deep thought, consideration, or debate; to strive earnestly as if in a violent or determined struggle’ (pg. 91). Waiting may lead to weeping, or breaking down. ‘The longer we wait, the more aware we become of our powerlessness’ (pg. 117).
‘Waiting often brings us to peaceful acceptance, to willingness. Willingness is not a passive resignation, but active trust. We are willing not only to wait, but to examine our motives, to confess our sin, to step out in obedience, and to surrender our rights, in confidence” (pg. 129).
Sometimes willingness to slow down, listen to God, and obey Him happens after a period of wondering where God is and what He’s doing. Otherwise, we might have just carried along, full steam ahead, towards some plan that looked good to us. There is something in me that groans deeply when I sense God’s wait sign going up. I’d rather just hear no and rush headlong into something else than to hang on ‘wait.’
“Waiting sharpens desire. In fact it helps us to recognize where our real desires lie. It separates our passing enthusiasms from our true longings. It reveals to us both our shallowness and our depths. Waiting is a test of our love and longing” (pg. 134).
Perhaps I appreciated that quote most in my own experience of waiting because I’ve pondered how the Lord is purifying the things I thought I wanted and reshaping them again. I can’t see what it looks like, but I can feel the refiner’s fire and the pain that comes from the straightening of crooked places and filing of jagged edges.
Waiting is a choice to obey that we have to keep making day after day. The alternative is to walk away and pursue something else. Even in Christian circles, I find that this is often encouraged…to simply get on with it, rather than to stay the course and endure whatever it is that God has in store for those who will heed the call to wait.
In my own season of waiting, I’m trying to trust that waiting allows me the opportunity to know God in a way that I’ve not known Him before and maybe didn’t even desire to know Him until the going got tough enough.
Here are a few of the passages that were referenced in the book: