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“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)
Recently, I took some outdoor photos, assuming I had the memory card inserted into our camera. Imagine my frustration, when I came back inside to find that the memory card was still in my laptop, and the photos I took were stored on the actual camera where I couldn’t transfer them over to my laptop.
“Don’t worry, Mama. All you have to do is transfer them from the camera to the memory card. It will give you the prompt when you turn on the camera.” Zach was exactly right. As soon as I turned on the camera, the prompt appeared, I hit a button, and the photos began transferring over to the memory card. As they transferred, a little progress bar appeared, showing me exactly where we were in the process and how much longer it would take to complete.
I don’t know what it is, but progress bars comfort me. They let me know that I am not wasting time—that something useful is going on behind the scenes and under the surface. Even though my impatience grows if the progress takes longer than I think it should, especially if I am in a hurry, think how much more frustrating it would be, if there were no progress bar proving that at least something productive is happening.
Don’t you wish there were such things as spiritual progress bars?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were screens we could open and view little progressive lines in the center showing us how much spiritual progress we are making and how much more work needs to be done?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to “click” on something that would show us just how much farther we had to press before reaching our goal of Heaven?
What about in the trials of life?
Can you imagine what a blessing it would be to know how much of the trial has already been walked through and how much more still remains?
Waiting on the Lord, without knowing how much longer the wait will be, can be agonizing. Especially if you struggle with impatience like I do.
Here are a few things I am learning while sitting “idly” in God’s waiting room.
#1. God’s timing is His own.
One thing about progress bars ~ once they start, you can’t rush them. You can kick and scream at your screen and complain continually, but the progress is going to go as slowly or as quickly as it is designed to go.
I can still hear the words dear Mom would say to me so many times, “Cheryl, you cannot rush God. God has His own timetable.”
Regardless of how much I grumble, God will advance my time in the waiting room at His own speed.
“Though the mills of God grind slowly; yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“He hath made everything beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world in their heart so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV)
#2. God is always working.
I may be sitting “idly” by but God is never idle.
However slow the progress may be, it is happening. He doesn’t waste a minute. He never misses an opportunity.
The mills may be grinding slowly, but they are grinding just the same.
“But Jesus replied, My Father is always working, and so am I.” John 5:17 (NLT)
#3. Waiting produces strength.
However futile a span of waiting may seem to be, I always find out later that I am stronger for having waited.
Waiting requires stillness—a discontinuance of activity.
Waiting forces me to stop moving—something I don’t like, but something that is necessary.
As I sit, waiting on God, parts of me that are so tired and weary from the fight begin to heal and be regenerated, and when God appears on the scene with the answer to my prayers, I walk forward with refreshed and renewed vigor.
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
#4. Despite my misconceptions, the fact is, sometimes God is waiting on me.
Over the course of 41 years of living a Christian life, I have noticed a pattern.
There are times, in the waiting room, when it turns out that God is waiting for me to reach a place of deep-seated contentment before He makes His next move.
Sometimes, He wants me to come to terms with the fact that things may always stay the way they are, however unpleasant that may happen to be. He knows the desires of the heart, and He hears every prayer that is prayed, but His answer may not come until I surrender my preferences to Him and, from the heart, I say, “Thy will be done.”
It has happened too many times in my own life for me not to pay attention to the fact that though I am sitting in God’s waiting room, it is, very often, actually God who is waiting on me to stop squirming.
“Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward.” Deuteronomy 2:2-3 (ESV)
#5. However long it takes, God is my only hope.
Turning away from Him, blaming Him, or being angry with Him is pure foolishness. If God doesn’t help, who will? Who can?
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.” Psalm 62:5 (ESV)
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7 (ESV)
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)
Physical waiting rooms are one of my least favorite places to be. God’s waiting room can seem even more difficult because I am a doer. I want to jump right in and “help” Him out. I think things should happen in a certain manner and in a particular order and by a personally-preferred and specified time.
God does not need my help.
God is omniscient—all-knowing.
God is omnipotent—all-powerful.
God is omnipresent—everywhere at the same time.
“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”
More often than not, when it comes to receiving God’s best—waiting is involved.
The best part is—it is always worth the wait.