Book Review – Sacred Waiting

In our Western culture, it seems that there’s little else that people despise more than waiting.  Even as Christians, we are certainly not immune to wanting things done, done now, and done quickly.  Even if we were to pray “Lord, give me patience” we might often find ourselves adding “…and HURRY!”  Yet David Timms, in his new book Sacred Waiting, points out that waiting on God is exactly the mindset that we as Christians should have, but perhaps struggle with the most.  Like our cultural contemporaries, we want things done according to our plan and our time table.  As Timms writes, “If we have a problem right now, then right now would be a good time for the Lord to step in and deal with it.” (p.14) The problem is that we see our lives as analogous to a waiter in a restaurant – except we’ve placed ourselves as the ones being served by God, our waiter.

Building on this analogy in the first half of the book, Timms shows how these roles should be reversed.  He redefines the manner in which we are prone to think of waiting: sacred waiting is not “what we have to do between two points in time to get what we really want” but rather is “drawing closer to Him and responding to His leading.”  He looks at the lives of Noah (wait and endure), Abraham (wait and trust), Moses (wait and learn), David (wait and worship) and Jesus (wait and obey), and highlights different ways in which each one waited on God.  Each chapter shows a different facet of what waiting on God looks like.  I especially appreciated the chapters on the lives of Abraham and David.  And by “appreciated” I mean that my toes got stomped on and my heart convicted about my lack of a Godward focus and desire.

In the second half of the book, Timms shows how waiting on God is seen in the calendar of the church: Advent, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Kingdom.  It was this section that really brought home to me the universality of waiting on God and how it permeates every celebration of the church.  In Advent waiting, we recognize our need and anticipation of a Deliverer, culminating in the birth of Christ.  During Lent, we wait and fast in acknowledgement of our need of and hunger for God.  During Easter, we celebrate the fact of the Lord’s resurrection, waiting for our own complete deliverance from “this body of death” as the Apostle Paul puts it.  The Pentecost wait reminds us to simply wait on God’s timing as He moves through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And finally, the Kingdom wait encourages us to continue seeking God’s Kingdom and not our own.

Each chapter ends with a series of group discussion questions, making this book ideal for small group studies.  There were parts of the book that I felt could have been flushed out a little more, such as in regards to the practical aspects of what “service and presence” might or might not look like.  I appreciated his emphasis throughout the book that sacred waiting is not waiting FOR God, but rather waiting ON God.  There are so many great truths in each chapter that this small book is well worth reading slowly and deliberately, taking the time to let the wisdom sink in.

(Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book to review.)


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