Last week I was down in the Chicago area because my mom was having surgery and I wanted to be there to help out and cheer her on.
Her last words as she was going in were “Isn’t he CUTE??” with a gleam in her eye as she pointed to her doctor. Her first words out of surgery were “How does my hair look?” Her doctor warned her not to sell her leftover Oxycodone on the street corner.
She’s scrappy and has a remarkable spirit and my dad is devoted and I wasn’t really needed, but it made me feel better to be there.
On the day of her surgery my dad and I spent pretty much all day in the waiting room. I’m not a good wait-er. At all. As a wait-er
You’re not in control (When are you ever, really? But it feels worse when you’re waiting).
It feels like you can’t DO anything constructive.
It feels like everyone else is going on with their life and you’re on hold.
Most of us are waiting for something.
I have friends who are waiting for a husband. Or a wife.
Friends who are waiting for a prodigal to return.
For an acceptance letter. Or a baby.
Waiting for a diagnosis. Or a cure.
Waiting for a job. Or someone to need them. Or a place where they feel like they’d be missed if they were gone.
Recently, I heard Holly Furtick speak on waiting, and something she said has been rolling around in my brain ever since.
She said, “What seems like a pointless or painful waiting room can be God’s most productive workroom.”
I thought “Aha!! I love being productive! She’s going to talk about what we can DO to CHANGE things and get out of the waiting room!” Not so much.
The work that we do while waiting is most often soul work. Inside stuff that requires patience (Does anyone like that word?), obedience, discernment and cooperation with God.
In the waiting room of the hospital where Dad and I were they had this nifty flat screen and on it were listed all the patients in surgery for the day. It tracked their progress, from pre-op, to surgery, to recovery room, to permanent room. In addition, if the surgery was long, they’d send word out with a nurse as to how it was going.
When I’m waiting I could really use a spiritual progress monitor showing exactly how I’m doing and when it’s all gonna be over.
But instead of even enduring in the comfortable, clean lounge of a hospital, waiting often seems a lot more like we’re survivors of the Titanic, clinging to God among the wreckage in cold, dark water. Disoriented and desperate to do something.
Every once in awhile we’ll flail our arms and try to swim to shore deluded into thinking we can swim the hundreds of miles on our own. But we realize we can’t and we go back to clinging.
Clinging is the work of the waiting room.
We cling and we say “Lord, help me to see you. Somehow. Today. Even for a second. Help me to focus on Your purpose rather than my problem.”
And slowly, ever so slowly, the wait results in just a little bit more of the weight of His glory being formed in us. Maybe the moment when we get the job or the baby or the whatever, isn’t the big deal, but rather the thousands of moments you choose courage and hope as you cling to the One who loves you.
One more thing…With my dad in the waiting room, it was easier because we had the company of each other. So, today, if you’re waiting and you’re reading this, know that you’re not alone.
What’s your experience of waiting?