“Rachel, are you joining?”
A woman at church points to a stack of paperbacks in her Amazon Prime box. I stare. Open my mouth. Close my mouth.
“The women’s Bible study?” she adds.
Oh. Bible, good. Women, good. Studying together, good.
“Yes,” I say.
She hands me a copy of the study book. I examine the Instagram-perfect cover: Seasons of Waiting: Walking By Faith When Dreams Are Delayed by Betsy Childs Howard.
“We’re doing it on waiting,” the lady says.
Heeeere we go.
I know about waiting. At least, I know what a Bible study about waiting will teach. God uses seasons of waiting to grow us up. Patience is a virtue. Whether you’re longing for a spouse, a fulfilling job, or a best friend, you need to trust that God knows what He’s doing. Waiting helps cultivate trust. Waiting builds perseverance.
Yada, yada, yada.
Nevertheless, the night before the Bible study, I read the first chapter of the book. I contemplate what I’m waiting for. What my heart longs for.
It doesn’t take long.
I want to be a writer. I want to walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on the shelf.
One more thing: I want to be a better Christian.
I want to make decisions that please God, not just myself. I want to be obedient, not rebellious. I want to cut out sin in my life.
To me, sin is a big deal. Sin is an offense to God. I’m not about to brush it off just because (read in Hannah Montana voice) everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days.
But like any process of growing, it takes time. I’ve just been wicked impatient about it.
However, one conversation snapped things into perspective for me. My friend from church and I were sharing what we struggled with and she admitted to having battled with a particular sin for a while.
“How long?” I asked.
“Fourteen years,” she said.
Imagine struggling with something for fourteen years. Think seven years. Then multiple that by two. (You know, like math.)
Dear God, if that’s going to be me—if I struggle with a particular sin for fourteen years—please keep me from ever losing hope.
This is the real resilience that I admire. Forget being able to live in a different country (ahem). Forget being able to drive through Orlando traffic (cough, cough).
I want to have the kind of resilience that means I still trust God even if I make the same mistake over and over again for fourteen years.
But developing that kind of resilience means being patient during the growing process. I have to trust that God is growing me at the pace He’s designed.
If that’s what it takes, then so be it.
Betsy Childs Howard writes:
“For God, the goal of [the school of waiting] is not that I should learn my lesson so that I don’t have to wait anymore. God wants me to learn how to wait so that I can wait well.”*
In every bad decision, in every moment of feeling ‘spiritually-stunted,’ I can still believe that God cares about my growth. He still desires to heal, restore, and teach me like the Father that He is.
*Childs Howard, Betsy. Seasons of Waiting: Walking By Faith When Dreams Are Delayed. Crossway 2016. Pg. 14.