The Waiting Room
The buffering circle on a webpage, or the ‘3-5 working days’ delivery date, frustrates an ‘instant’ generation. We want high quality and we want it now. This attitude makes us want a fiber-optic-Amazon-Now version of prayer too, as we wait, often impatiently, for God to move and show us His guidance.
But, the Bible offers a radically different attitude to waiting. God calls us to an intimate relationship with him, one where we are called to embrace time in the Waiting Room.
I’ve found there are seven w’s which shift our attitude as we wait.
1. Don’t Worry
God is with you in the Waiting Room. This is the declaration that starts Matthew’s Gospel: “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23) and ends it: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He may be silent, but he is not absent.
2. Don’t Waste
Don’t let the Waiting Room be a Wasting Room: a room where passions, gifts, relationships with others and God, wilt and wither. Waiting is a spiritual workout, it is crucial training, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally, for what is ahead. Joseph was not idle in the Egyptian prison. He took the opportunity to exercise his prophetic gift, which two years later resulted in his release and promotion to Prime Minister of Egypt.
3. Don’t Waver
The Waiting Room can turn us from Born Again Christian to Bored Again Christian. You probably know the feeling: your mind begins to waver and wander away to sinful thoughts. Don’t be a Bored Again Christian and let distractions destroy your destiny. Instead, practice what David did in the Psalms: “I waited patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 40:1).
4. Don’t get Weary
Look at Abraham, Moses and Jesus and how long they waited: you are in good company in the Waiting Room. Sometimes the task for which we are being prepared has not yet been fully disclosed to us. And the more demanding the new calling, the tougher the preparation might be.
5. Don’t look for the Way Out
The exit will come in its time. Just as Joseph had to go through time in prison, so we may well have to stay expectant in an unsettling place. The timing belongs to God. Peter looked to the waves when he stepped out the boat. Don’t look to the exit, keep your eyes on Jesus.
6. Don’t give in to Wistful Thinking
Consider God’s faithfulness in the past, but avoid trying to relive it. It is a choice to say with the psalmist, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). The day is new and fresh: “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22–23).
7. Don’t Water Down your Calling
Waiting can cause us to reconsider and reshape the dream that God has put in us. Don’t let the tediousness of the waiting, make you water down the calling on your life. Just because it’s not time, does not mean it will never be time.
- EMBRACE the challenges, the training and the time in the Waiting Room.
- ENJOY what God is doing in the here and now.
- ENGAGE in the waiting. Sit up and listen to what God is saying.
- ENCOUNTER the living Jesus, who is still alive in the Waiting Room.