The Wandering Pulpit – The Waiting Room
How do you feel about waiting rooms? Or being put on hold while on the phone? How do you feel about waiting in general? Do you know anyone who enjoys waiting? If you do, point them out to me because I cannot think of anyone I know who would say they enjoy waiting. Whether it be waiting for something we eagerly look forward to (like the weekend) or anxiously wondering how something is going to pan out (like a cancer diagnosis), waiting is hard! Think back to your years in school, waiting for the 3 o’clock bell to ring, or for summer vacation to begin. We wait for our 16th birthday so we can drive on our own. I don’t know about you but I could hardly wait to graduate from high school and head off on my next adventure. We wait to meet that special someone to marry. I think of my dear wife waiting patiently to give birth to each of our children, desiring more with each passing day (and also each inch around her belly) to meet that little life. I think of many individuals I have known over the years who have gone to a doctor for testing for one thing or another and then are forced to wait weeks on end wondering what the results will be or others waiting sometimes years to recover from some accident. I think of others who have lost someone they love dearly and are waiting for the pain to pass or the day they are reunited with them. Throughout all of our lives we are continually waiting. In fact, I believe it can be said that we spend a majority of our lives waiting for one thing or another. What are you waiting for?
Scripture is continually filled with accounts of the people of God waiting. Most of these times of waiting are not spoken of in detail because they are not the main events but that does not mean they are not important. To the contrary it is often in the waiting that God is preparing us for those main events and without that waiting we would never succeed with what God has in store for us. Consider Moses, who spent 40 years in the back of the dessert as a shepherd before he was called to shepherd Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3:1; 7:7; Acts 7:22-29). Consider Joseph,who waited over a decade as a slave and then as a falsely accused prisoner before being placed into the position of power God had planned for Him (Genesis 39-41). Consider David, who spent a decade hiding from Saul in the wilderness (1 Samuel 21-31), and then had to endure a seven-year civil war before he could take the throne as God promised him (2 Samuel 2:1-3:1). Consider Elijah who was called to prophecy against King Ahab but then spent three and a half years living off of the Lord’s provision given through meals brought by ravens and then by a poor gentile widow (1 Kings 17). We could consider many more examples of how God used the “waiting room” in order to accomplish His purposes in and through His people but instead let’s take a minute to consider ourselves.
In Scripture we are called continually to wait upon the Lord. Consider just a couple of these verses:
Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your loving kindness, O Lord, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.
So we are called to patiently wait but it has been said many times throughout the years that waiting is often the hardest part and that frequently is the case. Patience is listed among the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (meaning it does not come naturally to us) but I am always a little concerned to pray for it. For usually when you pray for something like patience God gives you the opportunity to practice it. My father told me a few months ago about God’s answer to his latest prayer for patience. In Scripture we read about how God sent “a heavy shower” of rain in response to prayer (1 Kings 18:41-45). We read of God removing great plagues of locus in response to prayer (Exodus 10:16-19). We read of God revealing a vast angel army in response to prayer (2 Kings 6:15-17). How did God answer my father’s prayer for patience? By sending a heavy shower/plague/army of “morons” during his commute to work the next day! Be careful what you pray for.
In all seriousness though, let us learn that the times of waiting in our lives are for a purpose. They are not meaningless. God is and will use them. While we wait let us rest in and trust the Lord to be working both on the stage and behind the curtain to bring about His desired production. So no matter what it is you are waiting for, whether big or little, realize that God is with you and God wants to use this to build up your faith. So wait patiently on the Lord and remember this, there are always other chairs in awaiting room so get together with fellow believers and “make the most of your time” together (Ephesians 5:16). And while you do so take a moment to think on the truths revealed in Psalm 25:1-5 and Psalm 37:7-11.