Are You in the Waiting Room?
I underwent major spinal surgery this year. It was not on my calendar, but God had other plans. One moment, most of my family were home enjoying the evening; the next moment my son and daughter were with my wife in the emergency waiting room while neurosurgeons and professional staff coordinated the 9+ hour emergency surgery.
Many know what it is like to be in the waiting room; praying, weary, waiting on word it’s over, and everything is going to be okay. Time seems to slow in the waiting room. Indeed, a watched clock does not tick.
Even when there is complete trust in a highly trained medical staff, the hospital waiting room is a difficult place to be. There is a parallel in the Spiritual realm. Many who say they trust in God struggle with patience. In an age where A.D.D. is common, and we demand instant gratification, it is easy to de-emphasize the importance of patience. However, when we lack patience, we lack the ability to trust God. Diminishing one diminishes both.
Consider this, long ago, Abraham and Sarai married, and for decades, prayed for children. When they were senior adults, God promised they would have a child. This was surprising, but wonderful news for the happy couple, who likely promptly began a 9-month countdown.
I can imagine Abraham going out to the shop to build a cradle. I can see Sarai working to child-proof the house and knitting a baby blanket. However, nine months later, there was no child. Nineteen years later, still no child. Genesis 15 records Abraham’s despair. Patience was waning. So, God encouraged Abraham by confirming His promise (Genesis 15:4-6).
This is a teaching story. Part of what we are to see is that Abraham and Sarai’s despair began when they imposed their expectations on God’s promise. Like most parents, they had ideas: 9 months, a baby boy, eight lbs., brown eyes, curly hair. This is common and demonstrates why patience is closely tied to trusting God.
As trials and tribulations increase in these last days, there will be many times when God’s plan and timing do not unfold the way we expect. That is okay. In fact, that is good and best. In such times, fervent prayer and absolute trust in God will help us persevere.
Patience is a character trait God appreciates and wants His children to develop. Galatians 5:22-23 notes that patience is one of the attributes of the Spirit given to every believer. However, just as a person with an ear for music can usually master an instrument more easily than one not musically inclined, they still must practice and work to develop musical skills.
The Fruit of the Spirit referenced in Galatians 5 is similar in that the Spirit doesn’t instantly make one patient, but rather provides incredible aptitude and ability to develop patience. Another analogy: If I want my body to have more muscle, God will not instantly change my body, but may provide a weight set.
There is a direct correlation between patience and trusting God, and as developing patience comes from enduring and learning from various trials, we must not fall into despair when the severe trials prophesied to come, arrive on our doorstep.
James 1:2-4 notes: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Watchmen must remember that the eyes of the world are on Christians who “encounter various trials.” Demonstrating faith, patience, and complete trust in God during the trials is a powerful witness.
“Don’t doubt in the dark what God has revealed to you in the light.” -Adrian Rogers
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