Sharon Brown began this week’s chapel by praying with us Psalm 130, a Psalm written by one who was waiting on a forgiving God. Sharon gently pointed out to us that, while we are frustrated when our internet takes ten seconds too long to load, we are willing to wait in a three-hour line at an amusement park. So, it must not be the waiting itself that is the problem, but instead our perception of the wait that needs to be adjusted.
“The biblical narrative is a narrative about people who wait—or don’t wait—for the fulfillment of God’s promises. . . . When the wait gets too long, [biblical characters] begin to second-guess the promises of God. They begin to second-guess God’s trustworthiness. They take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for God to act.”
When we have to wait, we begin to wonder whether the dreams and promises that God has given are really from Him. We may also begin to wonder if we have misheard God in our waiting.
Seasons of waiting can be filled with potential dangers for our faith. In the midst of a long wait, we can lose hope and lose sight of God’s promises. We begin to doubt that God is able, for us and trustworthy. We can become hard-hearted, disgruntled, bitter, restless, dissatisfied, frantic and fearful. We try to take matters into our own hands as we try to hurry God into action.
Seasons of waiting are trying for our faith. But, they’re essential for our transformation. “Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in Godliness, maturity and genuine spirituality most of us will ever encounter” (Richard Hendricks).
So we need a perspective-shift. If our waiting is a space in which God forms us, that changes things. Waiting, then, cannot be seen as a wasted time between where we are and where we want to be. It’s an invaluable time in which God is working to mold us.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Sharon Garlough Brown (GRTS adjunct faculty) is an author, retreat speaker and spiritual director. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Sharon has served on the pastoral staff of congregations in Scotland, Oklahoma, England and most recently in West Michigan, where she co-pastored Redeemer Covenant Church with her husband, Jack, for many years.
Her spiritual formation novels, “Sensible Shoes,” “Two Steps Forward” and “Barefoot,” follow the journey of characters who are learning to rest in the love of God. Her third novel in the Sensible Shoes series, “An Extra Mile,” will be released by InterVarsity Press January 2018.
View Sharon’s website at sensibleshoesclub.com.