What are we waiting for?

I wish I could give you a better explanation, but the Holy Spirit told me to be friends with Tanya Marlow. I may have cyber-stalked her a little bit until she became my friend. I am not even sorry about it. Not even a little.

I don’t quite know how to explain my relationship with Tanya. We have never met in person, but she knows me, really knows me and I her. We get each other. We are both two’s on the enneagram (though we have different wings) and just generally think in similar ways. A lot of our stories are the same too, and we are both figuring out how to tell them.

Here is the bizarre piece of the way our puzzles do and do not match up. We suffer(ed) from the same kind of illness. We have both been talked to like we are idiots by doctors and told to just pretend we are better until we are better by people who are unqualified to tell us anything. We both know what it is like to become mysteriously ill and watch all our life plans veer into the unknown, and we both know what it is like to beg God for a healing for years and year only to be met with radio silence.

But this is where our stories diverge. I was healed 13 years after I got sick, and Tanya is still waiting for healing. I struggled through pain and exhaustion, and she literally cannot get out of her bed or her home most days. I got better. Tanya is still waiting.

If I am 100 percent honest I have not yet sat and read through the book Tanya Marlow has written about waiting. I am in seminary and it just is a terrible time for me to read anything that no one is going to test me on eventually, but what is also true is I do not have to read this book to recommend it.

Tanya knows what it is like to be sliced through by people who are wielding the Bible like a samurai sword when they should be carefully cutting like a scalpel. She hasn’t just found the easy answers people like to give theoretically unsatisfying, but personally heart braking and brutal. She knows first hand there are no easy answers and she isn’t about to give anyone any. She knows better than most of us how those answers may go down easy, but can leave us sicker than when we started.

Tanya wrote a book about waiting while she is still in the thick of it. She wrote about God breaking your heart with the silence, while she is believing the story of my own healing and deciding if she has the energy today to hope for her own. Sometimes that answer is no, and you know what? That is okay.

All too often christian books are only written from the perspective of the healed, the better, the let me tell you about my story now that I am at the end. I think that does us a real disservice. I haven’t read this book but I don’t have to. I know Tanya. I know how she has been hurt by easy answers. I know how she is so achingly careful about never ever doing this to anyone else.

I get into a surprising number of conversations with women with the same kind of thing I had. I wish I had more answers for them. I wish there were a way to explain my own healing besides shrugging my shoulders and saying it is miraculous. It was, it is, I don’t know how to explain it. God is good, and also Tanya isn’t healed and God is good and that makes no sense to me. I am so very grateful that she is writing in the midst of the waiting and not in the neat and perfect ending we all want.

If you are longing for something and God does not seem to be hearing you, I am praying God finally breaks through. Until then, there is company in the waiting.

You can buy those who wait right here. 

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