When looking for a Bible study, I like to find one that opens up the familiar texts and stories in a new way. It constantly amazes me how we can find fresh insights into stories we’ve known all our lives. Tanya Marlow’s new book, Those who Wait does just this. Using a mix of rigorous research and inspired imagination Tanya brings Sarah, Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary (Jesus’ mother) to life, and helps us to imagine what it was like for them to wait for God’s promises, some of which were very slow in coming.
Tanya herself knows a bit about waiting. Diagnosed with ME ten years ago, she spends much of her life confined to one small bed (with a view of the ever-changing sky). So if anyone is qualified to understand what it is like to wonder what on earth God might be thinking, and when he will fulfil his promises to wipe away every tear, she certainly is. But you’d never know it from reading her studies. This isn’t a maudlin book, it isn’t filled with despair and longing for the end of the world as we know it. It is a book of hope and courage, a book that will lead you deeper into the Bible and the God of the Bible as you learn from the example and experiences of those who have waited before us. It doesn’t shy away from the difficulties and the confusion or the ‘why?’ and ‘how long?’ questions, but it brings them back to the only place they can be answered, the loving sovereignty of God.
This would be a perfect book to read through during Advent (there are a couple of ideas of how to structure your reading of the 24 chapters depending on your advent tradition), or to give as a gift to anyone who is waiting for God to meet them in their deepest needs. Each chapter ends with some questions for reflection, and there are Bible studies at the end that you could use in a group setting (the website ‘tenofthose‘ currently has the best price I could see for individual copies, and a bargain price when you buy 5 or more).
All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is waiting which, as Tanya points out, is all of us!
My rating: 5/5
* Full disclosure: I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.