Over the past few years, I’ve been to the doctor’s office more times than I would like to count. I don’t like seeing the doctor, because it’s a reminder that my health is out of my control. But there’s another reason I don’t like seeing the doctor – the dreaded waiting room.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be very productive and efficient with my schedule. Few things in life annoy me more than wasted time. And in the doctor’s dreaded waiting room, wasted time thrives! You know the drill – you’ll have a 10:00am scheduled appointment, but you won’t be seen until at least 10:45am.
At one of my recent appointments, as I flipped through a mind-numbing amount of magazine pages waiting for the minutes to pass slowly by, the Lord reminded me: waiting is a theme for his children.
Here are 5 things about waiting that we need to remember:
- Waiting Is Inescapable: Abraham and Sarah waited decades for their promised son. Israel waited for centuries to be delivered from Egypt, then another 40 years for the Promised Land. The Old Testament prophets waited for the coming of the Messiah. We all wait in anticipation for the Second Coming of Christ. Don’t be surprised when you have to wait; it’s part of the history of God’s people.
- Waiting Is Refreshing: Waiting immediately announces that we’re not in control. When God calls us to wait, He’s lovingly refreshing us of the fact that Someone wiser and stronger is in charge of the narrative of our lives. God is God and we are not. Sometimes we need to be put in our place (see Job 38), and waiting is one of God’s refreshing tools.
- Waiting Is Revealing: Whenever I’m forced to wait, I find that I’m easier to agitate, prone to rude words and behaviors, and focused more on my pleasure than other’s needs. Just like God uses waiting to announce his kingship, he also uses waiting to reveal the selfishness of my heart and make me seek restoring and redeeming grace.
- Waiting Is Productive: Psalm 27:4 says, “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage.” This means that God never wastes our waiting, frivolously prolonging what we get at the end of the wait. Rather, waiting is fundamentally about who we become as we wait. Waiting should always build character.
- Waiting Is Temporary: One day, the former things will pass away (Revelation 21:4), and that includes waiting. In the meantime, God intends that waiting would make us hungry for eternity. This life isn’t our final destination; it’s a preparation for a final destination, and waiting is meant to produce in you a God-honoring dissatisfaction with the status quo.
So the next time you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or the next time you’re stuck in traffic, or the next time you find yourself waiting for a late spouse or child, don’t just grumble and moan. Remind yourself that waiting is biblical, that waiting is beautiful, and that the God who calls you to wait is loving.
Waiting is changing you, and it’s also helping you to be a tool of change in others who are waiting. Find joy in that wait!
By Paul Tripp