Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sitting in God's Waiting Room

Have you ever been forced to wait a long time in a doctor's office, maybe even an hour or more past your appointment time? I have endured this torture many times, and I'll be honest  I am not a good "waiter".

As I sit in the waiting room with all the other patients, tapping my foot on the floor, and watching the clock tick away the seconds on the wall, I become increasingly agitated.

Then after reading every outdated magazine available on the tables, my thoughts begin to focus more and more on the fact that I am, in essence, being held there against my will. The more time that passes, the more my impatience begins to fester, and eventually my mind begins to wander to an ugly place.

I wonder if the doctor is overbooked and simply has more patients than he can actually handle.

I wonder why the doctor is not being considerate of my time at all. I guess he thinks his time is more precious than mine.

I wonder why other patients, who came in after me, are being seen before me. Why are they more important than I am? Life is so unfair. Hmmppphh.

In fact, I begin to wonder if the doctor is even in the office?! Maybe he is not really there, and the nurses are just implementing stall tactics to keep the patients from leaving. Wow. How dare they do that.

Eventually I start to wonder if maybe I should just go home and try to fix the problem myself with over-the-counter medications, or just wait out the issue, hoping it will get better on its own.

I'm sure I am not the only one whose mind 'wonders' in the midst of an impatient tirade. But the funny thing is, that this same line of thinking is what many of us do when we are waiting on God.

When we don't see God intervening to fix our problems or answer our prayers in a timely manner, we begin to wonder if He is just too busy.

We wonder if He is 'overbooked', with too many people with bigger, more important problems.

We begin to wonder if maybe He cares about other people more than us, because it appears He is answering their prayers before ours, and that doesn't seem fair.

We begin to wonder if God is even in, because if He were, wouldn't we have seen a glimpse of Him by now?

We may even begin to wonder if we should try to handle or fix the problems on our own.

Unfortunately this game of idle spiritual waiting can lead to a lot of wondering.  Wondering that can lead us away from God, as we focus on our expectations of timeliness, instead of His implementation of perfect timing.

Whether in the doctor's waiting room, or Gods waiting room, waiting is simply not something any of us want, or like, to do. In fact, our minds are not even programmed to wait on anything anymore, due to living in this land of immediate gratification.

We expect fast food to be fast, and when it isn't, we get irritated at the people who work there. We expect the ATM to instantly spit out money, to eliminate waiting in line inside. We pop food in the microwave and stand there staring at it until it's done. We use the self-checkout at the grocery store, so we don't have to wait on someone else to do it.

We have instant access to information through the Internet, and feel like eternity is passing as we watch the hourglass blink and 'think'.

We have instant messaging, emails, Skype and facebook so that we can enjoy instant communication and feedback. We send a text message to someone, and if they haven't responded in one minute or less, we assume they did not receive it and send it again.

Living in this age of instant gratification makes waiting on anything hard to do - especially waiting on God. As we pace around in God's waiting room, waiting on Him to call our name, we can easily become frustrated with His perceived inactivity and silence, and His seemingly unhurried pace.

Maybe you find yourself in Gods waiting room today. Maybe it is a new place for you, or maybe it is a room you have spent a lot of time in, just waiting.  Waiting to see the One who has the authority and the power to fix your problems, grant your wishes, answer your prayers, heal your hurts, ease your heartaches, fill you with peace and make your dreams come true.

And that waiting -  is hard - yet, during the wait, we can choose whether our minds wander to a happy place, or an ugly place.

We can choose to wonder about Gods will and His timing, or we can choose to wonder whether or not His will and His timing matters.

We can choose to wonder about how we can stand strong in our faith, or we can choose to wonder if faith is all its cracked up to be.

We can choose to wonder about which verses in God's Word may apply to our situation, or we can choose to wonder if Gods Word is really applicable anymore.

We can choose to wonder about how God is going to act, or we can choose to wonder about whether or not He will act at all.

Waiting is not a matter of time, it is a matter of faith and trust.

It is an opportunity for us to lay everything at the foot of the cross, and trust God, or to turn our backs on Him and walk away, assuming that since we do not see Him working, He is not really there.

These periods of waiting are often exactly what our Doctor, the real Great Physician, ordered.
Waiting is at the core of the Christian life, as we expectantly wait to see how He will carry out His will in our lives. It can be an opportunity to build our faith, trust and hope in Him, as we obey His commandment to wait on His timing, and His will for our lives.

Waiting requires trusting that God knows, even when we are feeling impatient.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. (NKJV)

Are you in Gods waiting room today?

If so, let your mind wander.....about the hope that can be found through Him; the trust that you can place in Him because He holds the answers to all things; the peace that surpasses understanding; the excitement that you will feel once you can see how God has been sitting right beside you in the waiting room all along; and most importantly, to the perfect timing of His answer when it does finally come.

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Bethany Hayes said...

Thank you, Tracie! I work at a doctor's office, and we deal with impatient patients all the time. They even ask if the doctor's out golfing! Thank you for the reminder to beware of being the same way when waiting on the Lord. How much better it is to wait on Him in faith, knowing that He cares and will answer in His time!

Julie said...

I LOVE this analogy! Thank you for this...I really needed this as I am a VERY impatient person. Your description of the waiting room impatience is me to a T!!
Thank you Tracie; I really enjoy your articles!