“Although Jesus deeply affirms our suffering, and although he catches every tear and profoundly understands every trial we have walked through, the suffering isn’t meant to be the focus of our lives. Jesus must be the focus.”
- Ann Swindell, Still Waiting
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been struggling with my body. You can read more about that here, but in short – I’ve been dealing with chronic pain caused in part by the way my body is composed. In the midst of this, I started reading Still Waiting by Ann Swindell; a story about the journey of waiting for healing. In this book, Ann shares her struggle with Trichotillomania, more commonly known as hair pulling, paralleled with the story of the Bleeding Woman told in the Bible. Reading her story, I wasn’t sure how much I would relate because I didn’t currently see myself in a place of waiting. That was until I read the line that said, “And ultimately, when we put our desperation in anything other than God himself, those things become idols.” That line smacked me right in the forehead.
The day I read this line, from the 3rd chapter, was a rough one. My right hip was tight again and my rib continued to catch my breath with every inhale. Crying out to my husband I said, “Chris, I am desperate. Desperate to be comfortable. Desperate to do whatever it takes to have a happy body.” As soon as I read that line, using the exact word of "desperation", I knew - I am most definitely in a place of waiting. I am waiting anxiously for the day when my body doesn’t hurt anymore, when I don’t have to stretch for 30+ minutes every night to be kind-of comfortable, waiting for when my body is 100% healed.
In chapter 7, titled When Waiting Feels Like Suffering, Ann said something that really struck me. “Although Jesus deeply affirms our suffering, and although he catches every tear and profoundly understands every trial we have walked through, the suffering isn’t meant to be the focus of our lives. Jesus must be the focus.”
Reading this passage was like turning a flashlight on in the dark; it showed me two things. Number one – Jesus validates my suffering. No matter how big or small my struggle, He knows where I'm at. He sees it and affirms it; it matters to him. Number two – my focus was all sorts of jacked up. My obsession with trying to get well stole my focus from the One who can and will heal me. Ann was right – anytime “we put our desperation in anything other than God himself, those things become idols.”
I won’t claim to know your story, but I think it’s fair to say that each of us is struggling with something. I don’t know if healing is right around the corner for us, or if we will wait for the day when Jesus returns and all of creation is restored and redeemed. But what I do know is that because of Christ, there is hope amidst the waiting. And this beautiful reminder is what Ann expertly describes in her book.
Friends, this is just a taste of the impact that Still Waiting had on my perspective. Drenched in the truth of Christ, Ann beautifully and vulnerably tells her story and leads readers to a hopeful place amidst the struggle of waiting. Whether you are suffering in a place of waiting, or just need encouragement, I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Part of the reason I am sharing this story with you today is because Still Waiting comes out TOMORROW!! This is exciting because the book will hit shelves nationwide, but it also means that today, you can still get in on the pre-order goodies. Simply order Still Waiting from your fave retailer (on Amazon for 8.56) and send firstname.lastname@example.org a copy of your receipt and you’ll receive $30.00+ of freebies! Want to see what they are? Head here.
** I am sharing this because I wholeheartedly believe in this book and the woman who wrote the words; I truly believe that the Lord is going to work mightily through its pages and that you will not regret adding Still Waiting to your bookshelf. **