Seasons of Waiting

Seasons of Waiting was published in 2016, but if there ever was a “season” where this book could be most encouraging and beneficial to readers all over the world at the exact same time, this season of Covid-19 just might be it!  Of course, I’ll take any excuse to highlight this book and encourage that it be read…it’s that good! 

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed was beautifully written by Betsy Childs Howard and I think hits on a theme that runs deep in all of our lives. In my twenty-two years as a pastor’s wife and of the hundreds (maybe thousands?) of conversations I have had with other women, one reality has often emerged, creating a common bond as we navigate life in Christ: all of us are waiting for something. All of us are praying for something to end or something to start, for someone to come or take their leave. Be it big or small, there is a level of waiting that fills every heart. Sometimes waiting brings with it an excited expectation as we see the thing we’ve longed for approaching. But many times, waiting can be painful. It can feel like a burden that never quite seems to leave our shoulders, like a dark cloud that won’t let the sun break through, day in and day out.  It can feel, well, a little like what many of us are feeling right now.

I have often cried out in seasons of waiting, “Please, help me learn what I need to learn, Lord, so the wait can be over.” Sounds like a Biblical prayer, right? Yet, I was only a few pages deep into Seasons of Waiting when I was confronted in regards to that very prayer! Betsy says, “You may have picked up this book in the hope that it will help you learn your lesson (and thereby bring your waiting to an end). My hope is that it will help you learn to love waiting, to want to wait well, and to see that God has a beautiful kingdom purpose that he is bringing about through (not in spite of) your waiting.”

I couldn’t put the book down after that. I wanted to learn how to love waiting, to wait well, and to see God’s story in the midst of my waiting so that I could bring Him glory, even through the painful waits. As I read, I found myself experiencing a wide range of emotions as she dealt with very real topics (singleness, barrenness, sickness, unsettledness, prodigal children/spouses). I often found myself in tears over the pain that waiting can bring (in my life and in the lives of others). And yet, as I continued to grow in my understanding of the gift God gives us in and through all of our waiting, I found my heart frequently welling up with hope and joy over God’s faithfulness!

 We live in a world that hates to wait…that wants what it wants and it wants it now.  Waiting well is a testimony of God’s sufficient grace as we cling to His forever promises in the midst of the temporal and as we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen (2 Cor. 4:18). It shows those around us that He really is enough (Lam. 3:24). And it reminds us that all of these days and seasons filled with waiting point to the most important wait…the return of Christ. 

As we wrestle through our own personal seasons of waiting, and as we all wait for these days of “distancing” to end, may we learn to wait well: to wait with hope, to wait with joy, and to wait with expectation as our hearts long, most of all, for our Savior to come back! 

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

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