Today I sit in the waiting room. It’s pretty typical in most respects… rows of matching chairs, receptionist at the front desk, and tables with out-of-date magazines. The walls, however, lack the typical non-descript “art” intended (I think) to have a calming effect on the waitees. Instead, four large, toothy muskies hang on the walls, seemingly swimming through mid-air. Toothy seems consistent with a dental office. And stuffed fish, well, this is Wisconsin. Most of the men want to display their “trophies”, and most of their wives don’t want that “dead stuff” in the house. I’m guessing that’s how the stuffed fish ended up here.
I sit, waiting for my name to be called. I pass the time somewhat restlessly, writing to the serenade of high-pitched drills and airy suction tubes. An oldies station unsuccessfully attempts to disguise the sounds down the hall. It’s not that I mind going to the dentist. When I’m in the chair all is well. In fact, I’m often tempted to sleep. (Those are about the most comfortable chairs known to man. Do they make them for home use?) It’s the waiting I could live without.
This is not the only waiting room I’m in right now. God has me in His spiritual waiting room. He is nurturing and preparing me for what lies ahead. I’m between appointments… marking time… trying to use it wisely, trying to do the things which honor God (though some days are definitely better than others). My soul is restless. I’m eager to move on, to continue my journey with Jesus. I’m having a hard time fleshing out Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.”
Of course, I’m in good company! Joseph sat in the waiting room of an Egyptian prison for a number of years before becoming Pharaoh’s right-hand man. David sat in the waiting room of a cave, hiding from Saul’s murderous ways, before ascending to the throne. And Moses’s waiting room was Midian, where he spent 40 years hanging out with the sheep before leading Israel out of Egypt. (At least my waiting room is comfortable!) These great patriarch’s were human, too. I’d like to believe they’d understand my restless impatience.
The last time God called me out of the waiting room, He took me through a time of incredible growth, complete with some growing pains. I learned about helping other people walk through life’s trials, face life’s challenges, and mourn life’s losses. I learned about my own shortcomings and sins. I learned a great deal about my God. All that I gained made the wait worthwhile… but the waiting I could live without.