I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about what waiting is and what it is for.
In this world, waiting is seen in a negative light. Think about time spent in the doctor’s office waiting room – ok, remember what it was like before COVID made us wait in our cars. We walk in and check in with the receptionist and find our seat. We fill the minutes (if we’re lucky) with mindless scrolling on our phones or doing work. We check the time. It is now past our original appointment time. The nurse finally comes out and calls our name. We walk back to the exam room where we…wait some more. We feel better about waiting now because at least we are closer to a resolution. Finally the doctor with the answers comes in and sets the agenda.
If we think waiting on God is like waiting on the doctor, we are mistaken. Waiting on the doctor is a solo effort. The expert with all the answers is in a far off room that we are not allowed to enter without permission at the proper time. Waiting on God on the other hand is starkly different. At every stage of waiting, He never leaves us. The expert with all the answers is in the room WITH us. Our waiting is never done alone. We wait with the One who holds our situation in His hands.
For some of us, that realization comes with even more angst. If God is with us in the waiting why wouldn’t He end our waiting? I think it is because to God, our waiting isn’t done in a Wait Room, it is done in a Weight Room.
God uses our waiting to cultivate practices and character development in us. In waiting, we have the opportunity to strengthen ourselves. Just like we go to the weight room to work muscle groups and we stretch them to the limit in order to become stronger, the wait room builds our character muscles for the journey.
Pastor Banning Liebscher says it this way, “God cares that we would be complete, mature and lacking nothing. So in his kindness, he brings seasons of delay during which patience can go to work in our lives. Being impatient and trying to rush the process only causes us to miss out on what we need. I want you to hear that again, where patience is required, it is the kindness of God.”
Did you catch that? We so often think God is mad at us when we find ourselves in a period of waiting and yet, it’s actually in His KINDNESS that we find ourselves waiting. Times of delay and waiting are cultivating that thing that God requires of us in the next season. He is fulfilling His promise to complete the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:16).
Look back with me. How have times of waiting in your past actually built in you strength for the things you’ve walked through since then? We have the opportunity to be in the wait room or the weight room. Which do you choose?