In todays day and age, we are accustomed to things being quick, and instant. We are impulsive, spontaneous, and sometimes demanding. We want things to happen, and we want them to happen quickly.
We expect fast food to be fast, and when it isnt, we get irritated. We expect the ATM to instantly give us our money, so we dont have to wait in line inside. We pop food in the microwave and stand there with our foot tapping until its done. We use the self-checkout at the grocery store, so we dont have to wait on someone else to do it.
We have instant access to information through the internet, and would never consider going to the library to look something up. We engage in texting, instant messaging, emails, and facebook so that we can enjoy instant communication and feedback.
We like things quick, easy and convenient, and in this age of immediate gratification and due to living in a culture that thrives on urgency, waiting on God is hard.
As a result of living in this never ending state of immediacy in every other aspect of life, it is easy for us to become frustrated with God, His apparent inaction, His silence, and His obvious unhurried pace.
Have you ever waited for a long time in a doctors office, forced to wait an hour or more past your appointment time? I have endured this torture many times, and I will be honest and tell you, that I not a good “waiter”.
As I sit in the waiting room, watching the clock tick away seconds on the wall, getting bored because I have already read every outdated magazine available in the rack, my thoughts begin to focus on impatience. The more time passes, the more my impatience begins to fester, and eventually my mind begins to wander.
I begin to wonder if the office staff overbooked the doctor and if he simply has too many patients. I begin to wonder why the doctor is not being considerate of my time at all.
I wonder why other patients, who came in after me, are being seen before me. I wonder if maybe I should just go home and try to see if I can fix the problem myself with over the counter medicines, or just wait it out to see if it goes away.
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 try to keep the patients from leaving?!
The funny thing is, that this same line of thinking is what many of us do when we are waiting for God, myself included!
When we do not see Him working on our problem or answering our prayers in a timely manner, we begin to wonder if maybe He is just too busy.
We begin to wonder if maybe He just does not really care about us at all.
We begin to wonder if maybe He cares about other people more than us, because it appears He is answering their prayers before ours.
We begin to wonder if we should try to handle the problems on our own, and just leave God out of it.
We may even begin to wonder if God is even there, because if He was, would we not have seen a glimpse of Him by now?
Sometimes waiting, can cause wondering, and that wondering can lead us away from God, as we focus on our expectations of timeliness, instead of His.
I do not like waiting – on earthly things, or heavenly things for that matter. Waiting, whether in the doctors waiting room, or Gods waiting room, is simply just not something any of us want, or like, to do.
Maybe you are 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.
In this waiting room, maybe you are waiting for a sick family member to be healed; maybe you are waiting to be given a child; maybe you are waiting on a new job opportunity; maybe you are waiting on your teen to turn back to God; maybe you are waiting for a marriage to improve; maybe you are waiting on financial security; maybe you are waiting to overcome an addiction; maybe you are waiting on a clean bill of health; maybe you are waiting for a miracle.
There are so many reasons that cause us to end up sitting in Gods waiting room – just waiting. Waiting to see the One who has the authority to fix the problem, grant the wishes, answer the prayers, and make dreams come true. Waiting to see the One who can heal our hurts, ease our heartache, prescribe peace, and offer hope.
And that waiting is hard – but during the wait, we can choose how we will allow our minds to wander.
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 Gods Word may apply to our situation, or we can choose to wonder if Gods Word is really applicable in todays world.
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 a matter of faith, obedience, hope and trust.
It is an opportunity for us to lay everything at the foot of the cross, or to bear the weight on our own shoulders. An opportunity to fully trust God and draw closer to Him, or to turn our backs on Him and assume that since we do not see Him, He is not realy there.
In the eyes of the world, any type of waiting is seen as a negative thing, whether waiting on the doctor, or God. In fact, waiting causes negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, boredom, impatience and maybe even feeling trapped.
Waiting may also cause us to act in ways that we would not normally do, such as complaining, despairing, and leaning towards thoughts of hopelessness.
But waiting is sometimes exactly what our Doctor, the real Great Physician, ordered.
God’s concept of waiting is different than our own. It is not based on the mindset of frustration, impatience, or hopelessness – it is based on expectation, patience and His glory.
It is geared towards developing and growing our faith during the wait, providing opportunities for our minds to embrace His sovereignty, His loyalty, and His love.
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.
Psalm 118:8 is the exact center of the Bible. It is the verse that is found between the shortest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 117), and the longest chapter in the Bible (Psalm 119). It is the verse that tells us of Gods perfect will for each of our lives, perfectly placed right smack in center of Gods Word.
Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (NKJV)
Waiting requires trust. Waiting requires taking the focus off of ourselves and our timelines, and putting our trust and hope in the Lord. Waiting requires obedience, as we succumb to Gods sovereignty and recognize that He is God, and we are not.
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? Let your mind wander.
Spend some time wondering about the hope that can be found through Him; about the trust that you can place in Him because He holds the answers to all things; about how you can walk in obedience by putting your trust and hope in Him; about the peace that you can feel in the middle of a storm; about the excitement that you will feel once you are able to see how God has been sitting right beside you in the waiting room all along.
Maybe there are some benefits to waiting, and just maybe, patience truly is a virtue after all.