On Monday I shared about a book that provided fresh insights into the lives of familiar Bible characters, and today I am pleased to share with you about another book which does the same.
Those Who Wait by Tanya Marlow
I connected with Tanya through Five Minute Friday and discovered that she was another of the few British writers who take part in the linkup. When I heard about her book “Those Who Wait,” which was published last month, I was keen to read it.
Waiting is something we all experience, and something which I think most of us struggle with. The out-of-control feeling, and the uncertainty about when the wait will be over and how the situation will be resolved are certainly issues that I’ve struggled with during times of waiting. It is an important topic to explore.
“Even our little waitings echo the tensions of the bigger waits, which in turn reveal the longest wait of the world. Humanity writhes and cries out against suffering, death, and sickness. Deep in our core, we long for wholeness, heaven, and the incomparable beauty of seeing Jesus face to face.”
The book explores the topic of waiting through the eyes of four Bible characters who waited:
- Sarah: waiting for a child and for God’s promise to be fulfilled
- Isaiah: waiting for peace and justice in a time of upheaval and uncertainty
- John the Baptist: waiting to discover his life’s calling and, later, waiting in prison, uncertain whether his wait would end in freedom or in death
- Mary: waiting for Jesus, the Messiah, to be born
Each section includes five short chapters, telling part of the story from the point-of-view of the character. This is followed by some questions for reflection and some creative exercises to help the reader apply the material to their own lives.
I enjoyed the way the stories of the Bible characters were brought to life- it was really helpful in considering what it must have been like for them, and it captured well the emotions they must have been experiencing. There was a lot I could relate to in my own times of waiting, and it left me encouraged to hold on and keep trusting God.
Here’s a short excerpt from Sarah’s story:
“Years passed. I stopped being mad at God, simply because I hadn’t the energy for it any longer. Every month, we had the relentless rhythm of hope, disappointment; hope, disappointment; hope disappointment…
There’s only so long you can hope before it breaks you. I disciplined myself to stop thinking about it. Some part of me shut down. Gradually, I began to accept that it was not to me that the Lord had promised a child. We’d misunderstood. Perhaps the Lord had wanted us to take action; anything was better than waiting.”
I think this book would be helpful to anyone who is facing a time of waiting, providing encouragement that they are not alone, that God is faithful and they are not forgotten, and that God can use our times of waiting. However, I also think it is relevant for us all, especially as we approach the start of Advent and consider the long time of waiting for the Messiah to come.
The book is designed so that it can be used as an Advent study, either by beginning on December 1st and reading one chapter each day, or beginning four weeks before Christmas and covering one section each week. Having read through the book quickly, I am planning to retrace my steps more slowly during Advent as there are many helpful insights to reflect on further.
If you are interested in exploring the topic of waiting some more, you can find a short series I wrote on the subject last November and December by clicking here.