Waiting. It isn’t easy, especially when we are waiting on God, but Scripture is filled with the stories of men and women who experienced agonizing periods of waiting on the Lord.
Abram and Sarai waited twenty-five years for God to fulfill His promise that someday they would have a child. When Isaac was born, they were old enough to be great-grandparents!
The Israelites suffered for more than four hundred years in Egyptian slavery, waiting for God to deliver them from their cruel bondage.
After Samuel had anointed him king of Israel, David waited years to assume the throne that was rightfully his.
For three long days Jesus’ followers waited for hope to break through their darkest despair as His battered body lay in the tomb.
Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the Father to prepare a home for us, and we who call Him Savior and Lord have been waiting more than two thousand years for Him to return.
The difficult work of waiting often seems to be part of our relationship with God. His timing is just different from ours. The apostle Peter wrote, “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).
What does this have to do with our quiet time with God? When I enter into that space with God, I often experience a period of waiting, and I think that comes with being human. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle to quiet your mind or you feel as if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Grant yourself the gift of relaxing into the wait. If you gently continue to turn your heart back to Him, simply waiting on Him, you will experience His presence.
And His presence will be worth the wait!
3 Benefits of God’s Waiting Room
What do you do if you’re trying to trust God in a very uncertain, difficult situation, constantly praying for an answer, but no answer comes?
What can you do while you wait for God to answer, to work, to supply?
God’s Waiting Room
This is what I like to call “God’s Waiting Room”—we are stuck in a difficult situation, constantly praying, only to be met with silence. It can be a frustrating and even scary place to be, but the reality is that we sometimes change and grow the most during times of waiting.
Mary and Martha spent time in the waiting room when Lazarus got sick and then died. While Jesus could see how this episode in their lives would end, his friends, including the disciples, had no idea.
They had to wait and see. And of course, only Jesus knew how long the wait would be.
Mary and Martha in God’s Waiting Room
Mary and Martha reacted the same way to their time of waiting. They both said if Jesus had come sooner, their brother wouldn’t have died (see John 11:21,32). They were clearly upset, probably frustrated and maybe a little angry.
It would be interesting to see their reactions a couple of days after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Their perspective would no doubt be very different in hindsight.
We all have a lot in common with Mary and Martha. At the center of our struggle with waiting is the conflict between our timeline and God’s. Because we’re limited by our perspective as time-bound creatures, we’ll never be able to grasp the vast difference between the way we view the events in our lives and the way God views them. This is where faith and trust must enter.
Mary, Martha and countless others would tell you from their experiences that life’s waiting rooms are difficult places, even for people with great faith and trust in God.
The Story of Paul in God’s Waiting Room
Often when we’re at our lowest and weakest, we realize how high and powerful our God is. Paul certainly realized this.
In 2 Corinthians 12 he related his struggle with “a thorn in the flesh” (v. 7)—the particular, intimate vulnerability that vexed him most deeply. When he pleaded with God to take his thorn away, God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (v. 9).
Grace can be defined as God’s provision for our every need when we need it. A literal interpretation of that verse is “My power is being perfected in your weakness.” In other words, God’s provision of grace is a continuing process, not a one-time event.
Paul learned that lesson from his experience with his thorn: “I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. … When I am weak, then I am strong” (vv. 9-10).
3 Benefits of God’s Waiting Room
An understanding of God’s grace helps us make sense of struggles and times of long waiting. God is working during those times.
1. We see God at His most powerful during the wait. We don’t get to see God at His most powerful unless we spend time in the waiting room. When we’re highly aware of our own inadequacy, that’s when we need to be most aware of God’s unlimited ability.
2. God’s waiting room refines our character. If we embrace our weakness and place our trust in God and His timing, He can use the waiting room to refine our character, bring about spiritual transformation in our lives and teach us to hope and persevere patiently.
3. We grow spiritually during the wait. It’s usually on the other side of the waiting room that we see the most spiritual growth and fruit in our lives. When our trust is in the Maker of heaven and earth, we realize that what matters most isn’t what’s happening to us but what’s happening in us.
Final Thoughts: Waiting in Faith
Waiting is a common activity for those who passionately follow God. When we face unpleasant, fear-inducing circumstances, we must face them with faith in the God who’s watching over our lives.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing; we just wait. We have to trust that God has a plan and that He’s bringing it to completion in our lives.