You’re in a room, waiting. It could be small, it could be big, the size of the room doesn’t really matter, it’s purpose is the same. You are here to wait and wait you must. Soft music is playing. You hum along even though you don’t know the tune and you sit, fidgeting. There is a stillness here, almost peace, and yet also a nagging feeling of anticipation, a gnawing hunger to be doing something, anything. But there is nothing really to be done, so you wait, uneasily. Finally a name is called… but it isn’t your’s and you watch one of your fellow “waiters” leave, following them with your eyes, secretly envious that they were called before you.
As time drags out, you begin to wonder if you will ever be able to do anything but wait. The ticking of the clock begins to make you nervous. It’s something mundane, you wouldn’t even notice it otherwise, but you are forced to be still and so you hear it. It seems to be taunting you, reminding you that precious time is literally ticking away, time you could be doing something, accomplishing something in glorious activity, and yet you are forced to sit here, hands folded, idly inactive. It’s enough to drive you mad.
What if the waiting turns into hours, days, years? Will your name ever be called? Will you ever be able to step forward with purpose again? Or will you always be here, waiting, in limbo, feeling completely useless, completely helpless, and completely frustrated?
Waiting is hard. It calls out a different kind of strength from our depths. Not a strength of action, but a strength of inaction. It is a strength of perseverance, of holding out until help arrives, yet it doesn’t always look as glorious as that sounds. Sometimes you are under fire, enemies surround, and you wait for deliverance, stolid and brave, ready to win your medal of honor for holding out. But sometimes… sometimes there is nothing happening around you (so you believe), time seems at a stand still. All activity has stopped and you long for movement, but are forced to wait, to be still. To persevere here doesn’t seem as glorious. And you aren’t likely to get a medal.
Why? You cry out. Why am I forced to wait? But there is no answer and you didn’t really expect one.
It can feel hopeless here. You’d give anything to act, but every time you do, your efforts fall flat because it isn’t time, your appointment with forward momentum hasn’t arrived. And bitterly, you know that there isn’t really anything you can do to hurry the wait.
So what do you do?
Well, you could wallow in self-pity and frustration, but since your frustration is with not being able to do anything, this seems counterproductive. You could grumble bitterly, causing everyone around you to be miserable, after all, misery loves company. Yet, that would hardly solve your problem, only compounding the hopelessness you feel. So what can you do?
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” (Psalms 121:1 ESV)
Although it may be harder to sense, there is action in waiting. There is movement. In the waiting, there is a readying. A resting and bracing for the next scene. Most of all, this is a time to focus fully on the One who can deliver. Focus.
“For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty
and lift up your face to God.” (Job 22:26 ESV)
He offers hope. Hope for deliverance, hope for an end to waiting. Hope.
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.” (Psalms 62:5 ESV)
You may not see it, but He has a plan. And He is always working, even when you cannot sense it, even when it seems like the world is at a standstill. Trust.
“The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8 ESV)
“And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10 ESV)
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
Often times, in the wait, it can seem like no one is listening. But we have a promise, an assurance of council. A promise to be heard. Pray.
“But I call to God, and the Lord will save me.” (Psalms 55:16 ESV)
“Call to Me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)
“When he calls to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” (Psalm 91:15 ESV)
Although this is a forced rest, we can take advantage of it. Allow it to recharge us, to strengthen us. Rest.
“Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14 ESV)
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
When others are called before you, instead of being envious, Rejoice.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice.” (Romans 12:15 ESV)
And while we feel like we are alone, never forget, He waits with us. Wait.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18 ESV)
And when we dwell, abide, in the presence of the Almighty, we will be rewarded for our patience, for our waiting. Not just at the end of waiting, but during as well. Receive.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25 ESV)
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV)
There is another movement in waiting, a transformation, a strengthening. Those who are weary, receive power.
“He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29 ESV)
Finally, your name is called and you stand, but you stand a different person, a person transformed by the wait, a person of strength, ready for the challenge ahead. And you march forward, you and your God.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 ESV)