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A Review of Wait and See by Wendy Pope
Wendy Pope writes that she was minding her business in the early 2000s when God called her to teach the Bible and be active in women’s ministry. She then attended a She Speaks conference hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and God confirmed her calling in “ways only God could arrange.”
For weeks after the She Speaks conference, Pope “lived and breathed nothing but bio sheets, messages, headshots, and marketing.” Her related expenses went over her family’s budget. But there was no demand for her as a speaker, and she ended up working for 12 years at the offices of Proverbs 31 Ministries (“God moved me to an office chair in a gray cubicle . . .”). She served in her church and honed her writing skills. Today she is on the team of speakers at Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans
The publisher’s overview of Wait and See states, “Every woman struggles with times of waiting – for a spouse, a child, a job. In Wait and See, Wendy Pope guides readers to focus on the person of their faith rather than the object of their wait. Pope draws on the story of King David, who was anointed king nearly twenty years before he took his throne.”
Pope seems to have written this book for the same audience of “Jesus girls” that has made Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries a popular author and speaker. Her writing style is informal and confidential, and the book is sprinkled with statements like these: “This is stinkin’ thinkin’, and it has got to go!” and, “Instead of the depressing turning dramatic, she was determined to find laughter in the yuck,” and, “Whoa! I just blew my own mind.”
The book includes stories of seasons of waiting in the lives of ordinary Christians, including Pope and her family, and questions for reflection. Each chapter concludes with a “Digging Deeper with David” section based on a Davidic psalm. Pope writes, “David is an excellent example of how to prepare while we wait for what God has planned for our lives.”
Proverbs 31 Ministries offered an online Bible study based on the book in 2016. Dozens of readers have posted five-star reviews of Wait and See on Amazon and Goodreads. The book is encouraging, and its “bloom where you’re planted” message is good.
For me, however, the Bible exposition in Wait and See was unhelpful. Pope quotes from nine Bible translations, including The Message. Like TerKeurst and Beth Moore, she sometimes explains a verse by choosing a particular word in it, stating the word in the original language, and then stating its dictionary definition. In one instance, she simply writes, “Fret is the Hebrew word charah.” So what?
In addition, Pope seems to expect believers to hear from God apart from the Bible. Throughout Wait and See, she refers to the Holy Spirit calling, confirming, leading, nudging, prompting, tugging on the heart, and whispering in a still, small voice in the present day. She writes that young David “spent his days learning to recognize and obey God’s voice, two traits that would serve him greatly as king.” But where does the Bible state or even imply that David had to learn to recognize God’s voice? At the same time, Pope seems to be saying that personal revelation from God cannot be misunderstood. “I must not have heard God correctly” is “Misconception #1,” she writes.
Unfortunately, one of my main takeaways from Wait and See was that an unknown number of women are desperate to become famous Christian speakers and authors, the next Beth Moore or Lysa TerKeurst. “I believed saying yes to God would put me center stage in an arena filled with thousands of women who had just read my bestseller,” Pope writes.
As I sat in my gray cubicle, a severe case of the “mines” attacked my heart. Near the same time, many of my friends in ministry enjoyed success. Publishing opportunities, consistent speaking engagements, and individual ministries seemed to fall into their laps, but not mine. I pasted on a halfhearted smile when they shared about their ministry growth, but inwardly I pouted and argued with God. What about me? I’ve been speaking longer than she has. When will my ministry grow? Why can’t my book be published?
That was then. “Neither center stage nor a bestseller matters to me any longer,” Pope assures us. But I wonder who these ministries really are for.
Final note: Seasons of Waiting by Betsy Childs Howard, who works with The Gospel Coalition, appears to be a better and deeper book on this topic, based on my reading of an excerpt available online and Aimee Byrd’s review.
Leaving Lysa: Why You Shouldn’t Be Following Lysa TerKeurst or Proverbs 31 Ministries
Kirstin lives in Southern California and works in the legal field. She has participated in women’s Bible studies for 20 years. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10 ESV