Waiting can be the most painful experience any of us face. For children, it is worse than hell itself! The frustrated cry from kids, sitting in the back seat, of "when are we going to get there?" is heard around the world in every language. As adults we may have that same cry, but have learned to use our "inside" voices to impatiently, but quietly, ask God a similar question.
Another word for waiting is that awful "p" word patience. Whether we like it or not, patience is a character trait that God wants to produce in His kids. It is not an optional extra for a select few. He wants all of His sons and daughters to perfectly imitate His Son, Jesus Christ, who is His exact likeness. It is heartening to know God isn't asking us to do something He doesn't do Himself. He is not an unkind parent who says "Do as I say, not as I do."
God never requires something from us without also supplying His power and strength for success. The Holy Spirit in us is the dynamic energy we need for the development of obedient, faith-filled patience. He lends me His strength for the long ride in the back seat.
Consider for just a minute the extent of God's patience towards the human race. He waited for generations until the fullness of time arrived for Jesus to appear. He is still waiting for us as we disciple the nations and bring Heaven to earth. In the midst of His waiting He doesn't lose hope, condemn, criticize, complain, get depressed, throw tantrums, disconnect, or send another flood and start over. He is always loving, always hopeful, and always patient with us.
Paul gave a character checklist in 2 Peter 1:5-8. Here's the list in the order in which he gave them: "And besides this, giving all diligence add to your faith…”
Patience is the key, the turning point that brings us into godliness from which the greatest commandment to love one another is possible. It is impossible to obey Jesus’ words to His disciples to love God, and to love their neighbor as they loved themselves, without embracing patience. We know that from experience. It is difficult to act in love towards someone who is driving us crazy keeping us waiting!
Recently I was talking with God about some “waiting issues” in my own life. He showed me an image of myself in a waiting room. There was one door and periodically someone from the other side would open the door, call someone's name and usher him or her through the door. There were various responses from those in the room whose names were not called. Their faces spoke, even if their mouths were silent: expressions of discouragement, impatience, and anger.
I asked Him to show me what I could do in the waiting room in order to stay patient and not lose hope. With those who currently receive my emails, or for those who subscribe now, I am sharing my list of 25 Things to Do in the Waiting Room. I hope this will help if you feel stuck and forgotten in the waiting room!