Suffering Produces Hope

by Mary Beth on May 22, 2018

In review of

Ann Swindell’s book:

 Still Waiting

Hope for when God doesn’t give you what you want.

In my book review of “Still Waiting”,

Ann writes about her story to encourage hope during times of waiting,

specifically through the story in Scripture of a woman

struggling with bleeding.

After many years of suffering with silent questions due to her ongoing wrestle with bleeding and perhaps pleading for help,

we learn the woman pursues Jesus for a miracle and for hope.

At some point as we grow towards maturity in life and in our faith,

we also learn patience and waiting

in a lingering season of struggles and long-suffering.

We yearn for change towards healing and restoration.

 As we leave room for the grace of God to sanctify us,

long suffering not only challenges our adherence to persevere,

over time we learn His gentle mercies.

We learn to receive the Spirit’s comfort and guidance

n the process of  sanctification.

The grace of God will lead us through our individual suffering to

a deeper refinement of the heart.

In hopes to bear fruit in the direction of loving

God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The love of God gently works through us for His good pleasure,

to persevere towards a clear conscience and to grow in godly character.

Even as we reside in a culture of instant and comitted comfort,

rugged individualism, and accepted narcissism.

As believers in Christ we live in the already and not yet;

through Christ we’re apart of the kingdom of God,

yet waiting for Christ to return for His own.

We give glory to God as His image bearers,

especially in a season of waiting, just as creation waits and even

the angels wait for the sons of God to be revealed.

Three points I’ve continued to ponder and relish from Ann’s creative writing:

 First, when waiting makes you broken, weak, and aims

to claim your identity,

this season holds potential to lead us to God and His character

of goodness, strength, and sufficiency.

For in our waywardness and weakness,

He is strong and ever present with us.

While we wait we’re tempted to believe there’s no action or activity,

but this is where the grace of God carries our faith and very life.

Yes, but how do we learn to wait well?

Who wants to linger longer in waiting?

Swindell tells her story of trusting God while she

wrestled through years of personal struggles,

with vulnerability, wisdom, and personal cost.

She stands upon Christ and His divine power for everything in life.

Second, our desire to be “normal” circles back to a search for identity.

We are each uniquely and wonderfully made,

for love, value, acceptance, and approval in Christ.

However our minds understand this fact,

our hearts easily yearn to falsely gain what is already made secure

as image bearers and children of God.

If God is with us in our everyday struggles in being human,

let us rest in His compassion and everlasting love.

Finally, the lingering whys surface during long suffering.

Why does God not answer our prayers as we hoped,

either to heal us or remove the painful circumstances?

Ann offers through her journey, clarifying questions to probe deeper into our hearts during unanswered prayers:

What road will we take, one of offense or obedience?

Will we allow ourselves the freedom from shame and the freedom

to accept pain?

Ann writes, “Yes, I got hurt and frustrated and angry about what He wouldn’t do for me.

And yet I always came back to this:

God is God, and he loves me and cares for me.

Why wouldn’t He heal me, I didn’t pretend to know. But where else would I go (John 6:68)?

He is the Word of Life.”

Enjoy Still Waiting

as Ann inspires us to consider the love of God,

to love one another in biblical community,

and to apply the wisdom and hope in Christ

during our secret battles and sufferings.

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