Learning to Live on God's Timeline
By: Marlo Schalesky
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 11/1/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars + 2016 Best Book for Spiritual Growth It’s easy to believe God when a promise is new. It’s hard when the years pass and nothing changes. It’s even harder when desperation strikes, your plans backfire, and still God does not fill the emptiness. But what if, in this waiting, God is calling us to more? Join author Marlo Schalesky on a unique, contemplative journey to reveal the wonder that is often missed when we find ourselves struggling to wait well. Walking through the life of the biblical character Sarah, one who knows what it means to wait, you will discover a glimpse of God’s character that will give you strength to keep hoping and praying for the desires of your heart.
Waiting for Wonder is a journey into the heart of God where you will wrestle with personal questions, think deeply about God’s true character, and learn to appreciate His divine work as you discover your own path to the promised land. Recapture your hope, restore your soul, and renew your vision of a wondrous Savior when you learn to live on God’s time.
Leader guide also available.
A special thank you to Abingdon and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
WAITING FOR WONDER Learning to Live on God’s Timeline by Marlo Schalesky, is an extraordinary portrayal of patience. Inspiring! A book of hope. Powerful and life changing. A remarkable re-telling, the author takes readers on an intimate remarkable journey with Sarah, from the Old Testament. One hundred and twenty-seven years to refine a woman. Now, this is waiting! 2016 Best Book for Spiritual Growth! Sarah is the first woman since Eve who played a major role in salvation history. She is also the only woman of the Bible whose age was given at her death. One hundred twenty-seven years. As the author references in this well-researched inspiring journey: “I believe the biblical writer tells us her age to emphasize the length of her waiting.” Sarah’s life was about the "long wait." She was remade through the years of frustration, fear, fury, and faith. A life of waiting. A life of becoming. A life that would ultimately, bless the whole world. In our fast and the furious world today, everything is about immediate gratification. The now. No waiting. Rushing. When the word, “patience” is not in our vocabulary. Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment, without delay or deferment. Basically, it's when you want it; and you want it now. Humans are hardwired to want things -- now. It’s called instant gratification, and it’s a powerful force. What lesson have we learned? Waiting is hard, and there is an innate desire to have what we want when we want it, which is usually without any delay. In today’s world, we find ourselves waiting. Waiting for results of infertility treatments, waiting for a job offer, waiting for a change in a relationship, waiting for a change in life. However, the author takes us to back to the Bible. A reflection. She invites you for a walk with her, through Sarah’s life. A life of waiting possibly through Sarah's eyes. What was going through her mind? There is "wonder" when you wait. The perfect timing. God’s master plan. When it is rushed, the results are not the extraordinary. Not as intended. The pieces must be aligned in His own time for the outcome to be as intended. The work may not be complete. “Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?” Matt 6:27 and Luke 12:25 “Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matt 6:34 “Don’t be anxious about anything.” Phil 4:6 When God’s timing is rarely our own. It’s is easy to believe God when a promise is new and fresh, bubbling with life. It is hard when the years pass and nothing changes. Making it sometimes harder to keep praying and believing. We start with the barren Sarai. The shame and the hopelessness. We are all barren and Sarai gives us hope. Sarah’s journey could be our own. When God sees our barrenness, and meets it with promise. The place where we have the least hope. Barrenness: A metaphor for hopelessness. No human power to invent a future. Lack. God looks barrenness in the face and makes His promise. God chooses the impossible. He did not call a fertile woman to birth a nation. He chose a barren woman; on purpose. From scriptures to the what if? A glimpse of what the modern-day Sarah would possibly be thinking about her situation long ago. In the Old Testament, in Sarai’s day, infertile women were despised, rejected, helpless, and considered curses. Yet God calls the childless, the infertile, the barren to birth a nation through whom the whole world will be blessed. The place in her life that causes the most shame, pain, and hopelessness. God makes his wildest, most impossible promises. It is the very place he chooses to work. With poignant examples, the author uses poignantly relatable stories. Those who have been broken, with losses beyond comprehension. Yet those are the ones dedicating their life to the ministry of others, filled with beauty and promise. Transforming our shame. Sometimes it is out of a broken heart that God’s glory shines. Hope. God uses those marks, the scars, to full purposes. There is a bigger plan in motion. We do not always know what is going on in the background, preparing for the main event. If we rush the end result and try to control the events ourselves, the movie of our life, will not play out as planned. God’s purposes. As seen by Sarah’s story. God uses the complete redemption of the things in our lives that we hate the most. The things that cause the deepest sorrow, the worst guilt, the most agonizing pain. Those are the very things God longs to transform—for Sarai and for us. God chooses us precisely for the places where nothing seems to change and hope is sparse. Submitting to the power of waiting, to the power of promises. We do not like Haran. The place in between. How do you wait, believe, and hang on to the promises when you are living in Haran? A place where we land. Not the place we were promised. Are we settling? Discouraged? Will we ever leave this place? We do not want to remain in this place. Like Sarah, we can only wait and wonder. What must die before we can get unstuck, before we can continue toward the promise? Who is this God who sometimes doesn’t move fast enough? He is working. There is a purpose in the waiting place. God is working with power and wonder and might. We can’t always see it and rarely understand it. But God is working behind the scenes. A deeper work. A work we could never do, ourselves. Sarah’s legacy. Their wait was hard. Often hopeless. God made in the wait a life that mattered. Sarah changed the world. The world can be blessed through each of us. From the prophets who endured persecution, hardship, and even death as they waited. Faith. We can’t be discouraged. He is working and creating through our pain, fears, and doubts. In the long hard wait, God is making you into who you must be to make a lasting difference. He is at work when nothing seems to be happening at all. It is then when He is working His miracles in us, around us, and in the kingdom, itself. Often he is working a miracle in someone else. He could be using the trial for someone else--and we happen to be in the way or part of the relationship or overall plan. We become who we really are in the wait. And who we are matter. Legacy is born in the waiting. Embrace this God of waiting, where impossible promises come true. Of perfect timing in the face of fear. Millennia have passed since Sarah’s death. Yet she remains a beacon of faith for us all. A perfect example that God is most at work when we see him the least. He calls us to believe. Wait. Trust. Believe. One of the best books I have read this year for Christian spiritual growth. Insightful, and thought-provoking. A book you will want to revisit often, (bookmarking so many passages)...especially those trying times when we are impatient. Beautifully and thoughtfully written - a "light of hope." A great lesson. A calming stunning cover which draws you into this place of solace. Review Links:
“Are you tired of waiting? Have you given up hope? Follow the journey of Sarah and make this book your traveling companion. With rich insights and refreshing hope, this powerful yet gentle gem will transform your weariness into wonder as you see with new eyes God’s sacred and joyful purposes in your own wilderness of waiting. This book of encouragement is one you will turn to often and will want to share with your friends.” - JUDY GORDON MORROW, author of The Listening Heart
“If you have ever felt forgotten, disappointed by life’s outcomes or left wondering if you know how to hear God’s voice, Waiting for Wonder is for you. Journeying with Sarah as she waits for God’s promises to come to pass is heartrending and riveting. Marlo unveils, chapter by chapter, how hope springs up, even in your own life, when God is at work, hemming you in with wonder on every side.” - SUSANNA FOTH AUGHTMON, author of I Blame Eve, Breathing Through, A Trip Around the Sun, and Hope Sings
“Waiting for Wonder by Marlo Schalesky touched my heart at a time when I was waiting for my own sense of wonder from the Lord. This book is one I could have highlighted sentence after sentence to refer back and remind myself of what is true. For instance, in one place she tells us that God is not thwarted by the actions of others and later hits home with ‘sometimes what is happening is not all about you. Sometimes God is working a miracle in someone else.’ I loved that because too often when life’s trials hit home I want to make it personal. And while God may have a lesson for me in said trial, it’s possible that He is using the trial for someone else—and I just happen to be in the way or part of the relationship—or even part of God’s plan.
Waiting for Wonder is about hope. I have studied the life of Sarai/Sarah and found Schalesky’s opinions to be very applicable and believable. She has taken an Old Testament story of heartache and struggle and forever waiting on God and turned it into a reason for us to trust Him with our lives today. If God wants us to wait as He did with Sarah, then maybe we need to learn some of the lessons she did. Engaging story. Well worth reading!” - JILL EILEEN SMITH, best-selling author of The Crimson Cord and The Wives of King David series.
“I started Waiting for Wonder with no concept of what I was in for—certainly not to be grabbed and held spellbound during the introduction—and not the tears that would well at the most inopportune times from that point forward. I sensed the Holy Spirit’s hand in so many places along the way. I heard the voice of Jesus saying come closer, dig deeper, trust more fully. I plan to share this book with as many as will listen. It’s truly a must read for every Christian.” - MIRALEE FERRELL, best-selling, award-winning author of inspirational fiction
“In the drive-thru, E-Z, gotta-have-it-now world that is ours, waiting you’d think is a fat waste of time. Marlo Schalesky thinks otherwise, and her wisdom is soulful antidote, insightful balm. In plainspoken poetry she probes the not-oft-explored landscape: the hollow canyons of our souls, the barrenness that leaves us aching, gasping, teetering at the precipice of doubt and despair. Schalesky is a writer whose hard-won courage makes her a truth-teller we can lean on, those of us who know barrenness in its varied iterations. She writes us into hope. And along the way illuminates the pure wonder of waiting.” - BARBARA MAHANY, author of Slowing Time
“No one can experience this book and not be moved—or changed. This is required reading for any Christian who wants to understand the God whose ways are not our ways and trust Him still.” - DR. REBECCA PRICE JANNEY, author of 19 books, historian, speaker
“Can a book calm you and stimulate you simultaneously? Waiting for Wonder settles the angst of the modern soul long enough to carve out a quiet space where a reader can receive the challenge to follow Jesus deeper. Schalesky’s words quietly slipped into my soul where God used them to wedge loose rock-hard places to make room for transformation and life. The writer did my favorite thing: respecting biblical characters as the human beings they were, she sifted through their stories for the truth that remains transformative for the modern soul and delivered this truth with humility and grace. I can’t wait to read it again.” - LORI STANLEY ROELEVELD, author of Jesus and the Beanstalk
“Waiting for Wonder doesn’t merely reveal Marlo Schalesky’s elegance with language, devotion to the unfailing truth of God’s Word, and her ability to discover wonder-filled moments. The book does what all good books should: it invites us to think. And in the thinking and pondering, our hearts are opened to how God infuses breathless wonder in our waiting.” - CYNTHIA RUCHTI, speaker and author of Ragged Hope and Tattered and Mended
About the Author
Marlo Schalesky is an award-winning author of ten books, including Wrestling with Wonder: A Transformational Journey Through the Life of Mary. A regular speaker and columnist, she has also published nearly 1,000 articles in various Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, Todays Christian Woman, In Touch, and Marriage Partnership. Marlo lives with her husband, six young children, nine horses, two dogs, five cats, two parakeets, ten rabbits, two chinchillas, three hamsters, and a bunch of fish in a log home in Salinas, California. Find out more at VividGod.com.