The Waiting Room
Waiting is hard. Sitting in a waiting room, waiting for the surgeon to come out and report on the results of the surgery for one you love. Waiting is hard. Waiting for a teenager to come home late at night, long after expected, when they have just learned how to drive. Waiting is hard.
When we are waiting in this way there is usually something critically important at stake. We have our hearts deeply set on a specific outcome and anything less than that specific outcome will come at great cost. Sometimes the waiting involves a promise from God. You have a promise about a rebellious child who is far from God and their certain return home, but they are still far from returning. You have a promise about your marriage that you will be reconciled but things aren’t getting better and hope feels thin. You have a promise about some financial provision or ministry result that is no where near fulfilled. And you have trusted and prayed and fasted for that promise to come true. And you wait.
I have often found myself in my spiritual journey in the waiting room of God. I love Psalm 62:1, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” For God alone. There is no one else who can help. We have come to the end of ourselves. We are facing an impossible situation that demands God’s miraculous intervention.
My soul waits. Sometimes you have done everything you can do. You have said everything you can say. You have prayed everything you can pray. You have held on to all of the promises that you can hold on to. And all that is left to do is to wait. You enter the waiting room of God. You wait - for God alone. But we hate waiting, especially when we are afraid, when the stakes of the outcome are so high. We want to act; we want to do something; we want to make something happen; we want to compel someone to intervene. Waiting is hard.
Waiting on God is rooted in profound trust. It isn’t blind trust. He is the God of the cross. He is the God who has proven his love in redeeming blood. But, waiting doesn’t always guarantee the outcomes. Sometimes we pray for healing and people we love die. Trustful waiting is rooted in God’s good nature and dependent on an eternal perspective. It factors in suffering and God’s capacity to redeem it. There are some things I am waiting for that won’t fully be realized in this lifetime; there are some things that can only make sense in light of eternity. There are promises I Battle for that will not be for me, but for a future generation, but their future is influenced by my faithful fight. So I wait.
For God alone. My soul waits. In silence. There are times I have held on to a promise for so long that I have run out of words. Everything has been said and prayed. It is merely time to fix my attention on Jesus, to attend to his presence and wait in trusting repose. I just sit quietly with God in the waiting room.
In the beginning there were many words. They were necessary. I prayed over my concerns; I prayed out my fears and I surrendered. I exercised the essential spiritual quality of persistence - a quality vital to the formation of every mature Christ-follower.
I have meditated on this Psalm often because I have many things that I have waited on. I have gotten better at it over the years. There are still fitful waiting periods, but they are less frequent. I have been in this waiting room with God so often and seen him come through so frequently I have learned to rest quietly while waiting more regularly. I have seen him come through with character development, answers to prayer, loving tenderness and comfort, and divine strength to endure. Often the answer looked different than I had imagined, but no less beautiful when it came.
But waiting is still hard. Waiting is the room where my character is formed and my faith is forged. Waiting is the ground upon which my trust is tested and my commitment is challenged. I have seen God deliver so often in this waiting room it has become a familiar room to me in my spiritual pilgrimage. Even though it is still hard, there is something sweet about this room. It is the room where I have discovered his presence most painfully and most assuredly. It is the delivery room where promises have been birthed. It is the room where I have discovered more about my mysterious God and have gone deeper with Him. It is a room where I meet with God alone. And I am grateful for it.