In The Waiting
I’m in the waiting room. Again.
It’s not my favorite place to be and I suspect its not yours either. Waiting is not comfortable . . . period. You have no control over anything and have no idea how long it will take – hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes - years.
It feels like you’re in limbo between what is and what will be while vacillating between anxiety and trust. I find myself pacing, while repeating God’s promises out loud to drown out the “what if” dialogue taunting me. Other times I’m scouring the Scriptures for a “word” to hang onto – something that speaks peace to my troubled spirit.
Sometimes it feels like you’re holding your breath, or the breath has been knocked out of you.
Breathe. Breathe deep, long breaths. Life cannot be on hold indefinitely.
When I’d tried everything I knew to do -- praise, rejoice, give thanks, read the Word, or pray, I found myself eventually surrendering, like a rag doll drained of all my fight. Surrendered to the unknown, I ceased my striving and and traded it in for sitting still in His presence.
I sit still – no pacing of body or mind. This takes a lot of concentration and discipline. Exhausted from the struggle, I surrender and drop into His loving arms. Sitting expectantly waiting for His presence to envelop me, I surrender my questions and what if’s. Surrender my right to know which is not easy because I'm naturally inquisitive.
Last of all, I surrender control of the outcome. This is the most difficult surrender… control. I think if we would all be honest this is at the core of our impatience and striving -- the fear of losing control. Yet, we have no control. God is in control. Even Jesus prayed, "Not my will, but thine be done" while sweating drops of blood. It was in Jesus death that we receive life. Death of my control just may bring about something much better than I can imagine. It's that realization that helps me to relinquish the reigns to Him.
The song “Here in Your Presence” depicts what happens:
“Found in your hands, fullness of joy.
Every fear suddenly wiped away.
Here in Your Presence.
All of my gains now fade away.
Every crown no longer on display.
Here in your presence.
Heaven is trembling in awe of your wonder.
The Kings and their Kingdoms are standing amazed.
Here in Your Presence we are undone.
Here in your presence Heaven and earth become one.
Here in your presence all things are new.
Here in your presence everything bows before you.”
It’s in His presence that everything – fear, doubt, anxious thoughts, and panic must bow. His presence takes preeminence. His presence rules over the internal conflict and, finally, fear melts away.
Suddenly, peace rushes in and calms the spirit. The knot in your stomach releases, your facial muscles relax and you’re able to receive what God has to say to you – “Be still in my presence and wait patiently for me to act.” (Psalm 37:7)That’s His reminder, “I’ve got this.”
Nothing has changed in your circumstances. You’re still in the waiting room having re-surrendered control and taken up trust, again.
Being still is a state of mind. A state of trust. Life goes on around you. It’s something like what the Chinese do to stand in line – their shoes are lying on the floor where they would be in line but their body is sitting in a chair. A part of you is in the waiting room and the rest of you is doing life to the best of your ability – playing with the kids, folding clothes, putting away groceries, going to work, and fulfilling your normal day to day life.
From time to time you visit that part of you holding your place in line in the waiting room. You put everything else aside and join the wait not with just part of you; but all of you – spirit, soul, body and mind (attention.) The full weight of the wait descends upon you, again.
You might be tempted to check with the receptionist to see if things have progressed or if the answer is imminent as if you were in a real waiting room. It’s okay to talk to God while you’re in the waiting room.
At times I’ve plead my case and told God what to do; as if He didn’t know or didn’t have a plan to bring good out of it already. But, getting it out actually helps me to come to the place of surrender, again. “Thy Will Be Done.” Just like Hillary Scott sings in Thy Will: “Sometimes I gotta stop, Remember that You’re God and I am not. Thy will be done.”
I’ve been in the waiting room many times over many different situations and sometimes things came out the way I had hoped. At other times, it left me grieving. It’s not that God didn’t work; He did. But sometimes sin and self gets in the way of God moving and working on hearts to bring about His will. The beautiful thing is God can even bring good out of that.
Therefore, you end up in the waiting room again to see how He will turn this around for good. However, there is plenty of Scripture to help us in the waiting.
Psalm 62:1-2; 5-6
I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Lord, teach us to wait -- patiently and expectantly. Help us to lay down all the distractions, coping mechanisms, busyness, and doubt to push into your presence. Help us to know you more fully in the process so that we can more fully put our trust in you in the waiting. Enable us to surrender control to your more than capable hands and find peace and grace in the process. Thank you that You are always there in the waiting. Amen.