You may be seated in a small and sparsely furnished room, staring at the single painting, waiting to learn whether you got the job. Maybe you are the nail-biter pacing the floor of a hospital waiting room, longing for a word of hope that your loved one will pull through. Perhaps you are the standby passenger who desperately needs to get on that flight, or you're at the train station, already late for work, anxiously awaiting the next train. If you can't relate to these scenarios, then maybe you are the person waiting at the DMV and you're number 450, although you arrived early. Perhaps you are seated outside a courtroom about to hear the verdict that could change the course of your life. Still not you? Then maybe your waiting room is wherever you are—waiting for your circumstances to change; waiting for a phone call that brings relief; waiting to be reunited with someone.
We have all had to wait.
Most times, we have no choice in the matter. Waiting can leave us feeling weary and despaired. We become anxious and tend to entertain imagined bad endings to our stories. The helplessness we feel can be exacerbated by others who offer no words of cheer.
Job's Waiting Room
Job's story is one of waiting on God's deliverance from suffering. The Scriptures tell us that Job suffered much agony in his "waiting room." He lost all his children; his livestock, and his health—his body was covered with sores. His friends didn't even recognize him after calamity befell him. As recorded in Job 2:12, "While they were still a long way off they saw Job, but did not recognize him. When they did, they began to weep and wail, tearing their clothes in grief and throwing dust into the air and on their heads." They were not able to comfort Job and neither did he find solace in his wife's company. His struggle was intense, and though he expressed his distress, he remained resolute in this one thing: he would continue to wait patiently until things got better. Job said: "I will wait for better times, wait till this time of trouble is ended" (Job 14:14b, GNT).
Our wait may be similar to Job's or just a fraction of his experience. Whatever our situation, there is something we can do to help us handle our waiting room. We can engage God's Word in any place and at any time—for a brief moment or through months or years of waiting. Here are some tools to help you.
Engage Scripture in Life's Waiting Rooms
Pray—For God to keep your mind focused on God while you wait.
Read God's Word—Read the passages of Scripture below and choose one or two of them for further reflection, depending on your current "waiting room." You may want to write the words out on a notecard or save them as a note in your phone. Meditate on the words, using the questions that follow the passages.
Romans 8:28 (GNT)—"We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose."
Philippians 4:6-7 (GNT)—"Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus."
Jeremiah 32:28 (GNT)—"I am the Lord, the God of all people. Nothing is too difficult for me."
Galatians 5:22-23a (GNT)—"The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control."
Reflect—To help you engage God's Word, ask yourself:
- Is the message of this passage relevant for today?
- How does this passage apply to my situation?
- What stood out to me as I read the verse(s)?
- Did these verses provoke any questions? (If so, write them down and share them in your next group Bible study or dig deeper into God's Word to find answers during your personal Bible study).
Respond—Share your observations from this exercise with someone you know is now in one of life's many waiting rooms.
All of us encounter life's waiting rooms, but we can rest assured that God is right there with us. Whether the wait is short or seems unending, let God's Word help you stay focused on God's love for you, giving you the faith, hope, and courage you need to wait.
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