What is your general waiting room attitude? It is sometimes interesting to sit and observe behavior in an office waiting area. Of course, a lot depends on the office and what it is we await, but in some ways there are seasons of life that mirror the mentality of waiting. We might be anxious, bored, rushed, or indifferent, but in waiting periods our best (and truly only) approach is to relax, accept, and do what we can.
Sometimes waiting rooms fill us with dread. Fear of impending pain from a dentist’s drill or doctor’s needle may force us to jump with every click of a door handle or tap of a nurse’s clipboard. Perhaps we wait on news or results, and sweat with distraction as we nervously leaf through magazines and breathe heavily the antiseptic atmosphere. Or perhaps we are more concerned with the agony of timing…there are places to be, deadlines to meet, and we are uncertain of how long we might be stuck here in forced patience.
What does all of that anxiety achieve? Nothing, really, except perhaps a higher blood pressure reading when we finally do get in to the examination room. But is it possible to avoid the stress? Of course! We can choose to relax. We recognize that there is genuinely nothing we can do to alter the events going on around us or to move our name up on the appointment check-in sheet. So we may as well sit back and make the most of things: offer a time of prayer and worship; make a list of plans and necessities for the rest of the day; thank and praise God for the privilege of having access to medical help; or just relax and enjoy a good book or a trashy magazine.
We can discover similar attitudes when we find ourselves in the “waiting rooms” of life. We may be waiting on the job offer or the house sale; we might be wondering when the relationship will finally come our way; or perhaps just in a steady and stable place questioning what lies ahead. Our responsibility is to be faithful in patience. It might seem God is silent or we will sit in anticipation endlessly. Yet we know that a seeming eternity to us is but a breath in God’s eyes. The Bible is full of examples of those who waited. Noah waited and trusted, but also took action to prepare the ark. Moses waited on deliverance, and then waited in the desert with the wandering Israelites. Barren mothers like Rebekah, Sarah, and Hannah waited on the word of the Lord to come to fruition and provide a promised child. Prophets throughout the ages waited, and didn’t even always see the words of their messages prove true. We see through their example that, regardless of what else we do, we can rest in God’s goodness and wait upon Him. When we do so, our patience will be rewarded through His promises. And we can relax with or without knowing what lies beyond the waiting room door.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -Psalm 27
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! -Isaiah 30:18
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:30-31