Have you thought about how much time we spend in waiting rooms? Last Saturday morning, I woke up with congestion and a sore throat. I called my HMO and explained my symptoms to a nurses’ assistant. Next, I waited an hour for a call back from the advice nurse; three hours later, in urgent care, I was examined by a doctor. Soon, I got my written prescriptions and took them to the pharmacy, and two hours passed before the prescriptions were filled. It got me to thinking how much of my day was spent waiting. Whether we like it or not, waiting is a big part of life.
What if we could log the hours we’ve spent waiting in waiting rooms—the doctor’s office, the dentist and orthodontist’s office? Not to mention the hairdresser, pharmacy, emergency room, ultra sound room, recovery room. Or even the library, the principal’s office, or your boss’s office. If we tallied them up, we might be depressed, but we’d definitely surprised how long we’ve waited on something or someone. Too bad we can’t redeem them and use them at another time when we need more time.
Wikipedia describes a waiting room: “a building, or more commonly a part of a building, where people sit or stand until the event they are waiting for occurs.”
I believe there are different types of waiting rooms in life. We wait for medical test findings. We wait for classroom or teacher assignments, tests to be graded, whether we will pass or fail a class. We wait for a relative to be reconciled with the family. We wait for relationships to be mended. We wait for special occasions or anniversaries of loss. We are all waiting on results or decisions.
How does God want us to wait?
- Know His Word.God’s word has a lot to say to us about waiting. “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord,” Psalm 27:14. Most of us grow impatient as we wait; we want to tell God what to do, how we want Him to answer. Although we can’t redeem the time we have spent in medical or academic waiting rooms, we can make good use of our time. There are always scriptural lessons we can learn, but we must find out what the Word says to us during the time we need it. I carry my Bible, memory verse cards, and an In Christ I Am bookmark with me whenever I know I will have to wait. That way, I can make sure my mind is set on “things above” ( Col. 3:1–10). “I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope,” Psalm 130:5.
- Wait Patiently.Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.”Patience is one of the most difficult facets of waiting. We feel like our time is very important, that we should not have to wait. We act as though we are entitled to be at the front of the line; remember asking for “cuts” or “upsies”’ in line for the recess in first grade? The “me-first” mentality started early. We want to be first and don’t want to give others the chance to get ahead of us. The same is true when we are waiting on God to answer our prayers; we want our prayers answered “our way”—right now!
Joyce Meyer says, “When we receive Christ, we have the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience . . . but we have to water, fertilize the seed by faith. I believe a key element for deepening our faith is to choose to develop patience. Patience is developed by waiting on God.”
- Live in His Presence.How can we glorify God while waiting? The bottom line is we must be the same person wherever we are. “The Latin term is coram Deo: before the face of God. Coram Deo captures the essence of what we were created to do and be. The phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of God,” (R.C. Sproul, Ligonier). To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life boldly in front of God for the Glory of God. This means to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God.Titus 2:11–13 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, it teach us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and son Jesus Christ.”
So what waiting room of life are you in right now? Invite God into the waiting room with you. When His presence invades each corner, you’ll be amazed at your new perspective. You will begin to actually look forward to being in the waiting room because you will be drawn deeper into the company of God’s presence. What happens in the waiting room will bear fruit. Instead of being fearful, you will choose faithfulness. Instead of being anxious, you will choose prayerfulness. Instead of feeling you’ve wasted time waiting on God, you will be glad for the time you’ve spent in the presence of God.
O that we might be found faithfully, prayerfully, joyfully waiting on God’s timing as we bask in His presence. Romans 8:19 says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to live boldly in front of your face for your glory. As your servants, teach us how to “wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Let us be willing to wait on you as a good servant serves his master; we desire to serve you by waiting on you as long as you ask us to be part of your plan and fulfill your will. So be it. In Jesus’ name, amen.