Well, it's radio interview season for my new book, Waiting for Wonder. So, lots of thinking and talking about what it means to wait well especially in our do-do-do culture.
So, in hopes of encouraging you in your own times of waiting, here are a few interview questions and answers that I'll be sharing over the radio:
Q: Why do you think we need to learn to wait at all? Isn’t it better to just do something instead?
A: Oh, I wish! But as I learned through the life of Sarah, Abraham’s wife in Genesis, it’s a long journey to the promised land! When God calls us, we don’t instantaneously arrive. Which is probably why there are so many verses in the Bible about waiting. James tells us, “You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, (5:8), and Psalm 31:24 says, “All you who wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage.” And of course Lamentations tells us, “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (3:25-26)
So, God tells us to wait well. Yet, when we’re waiting for an opportunity, a change, a relationship to be restored, a diagnosis, a call, good news, bad news, I-don’t-know-what’s coming news, it is a tough thing to do that without squirming, complaining, trying to make something, anything, happen. But what about when we can’t do anything to bring about what we’re hoping for? That waiting place is a scary place. It’s a frustrating and hope-threatening place.
But if we can do it, if we can learn to do it well, we can, like Sarah, bless the whole world. And that’s the promise – that the world will be blessed through us. Through the wait.
Q: You say that our world, our culture, doesn’t help us to wait well. What do you mean by that?
A: Yes, I’ve never seen a success seminar on the topic of waiting. Instead, we’re always told we can do anything we set our minds to, reach for your dreams, get out of that rut. Or as Nike put it, Just do it!
Our culture is about frantic doing and striving and trying to fix it and solve the problem now, don’t wait, it’s all up to you RIGHT NOW. We’re not only not taught how to wait well; we’re told that waiting is inherently wrong. Action gets the job done.
Yet there are many instances in life when you have no choice but to wait. Contrary to our culture’s mantras, much of life is not in our control. We are not God. And life just doesn’t go according to plan.
But as the world shouts that we can only make an impact if we “do do do,” God says to bless the world we need to learn to wait, to trust, to act in his timing (which, honestly, I usually find to be too slow!).
Q: Can you give us one tip for waiting well that you learned through Sarah’s journey?
A: I learned that the key to waiting well is turning to God not only in faith, but also in frustration, in fear, in anger, and in every other emotion that comes up as we wait and wait and God does not move or do at all what we want him to do. It’s not in mustering up the right words or persona of faithfulness that makes us wait well. It’s in engaging with him, encountering him when we’re mad at him, or disappointed, or desperate or despairing that allows for deep, significant change. Waiting well is something GOD does in us, not something we muster up for ourselves.
And in the wait, God takes the very things that cause us the most pain, the most shame, and transforms them for his glory. In his time.