Had I been there alone, I would have been engrossed in a book, happily enjoying my solitude and thinking only of my leisure. But I wasn’t alone, I was sitting in the waiting room with my active three-year-old son. He wanted to play on my phone; he wanted Sports Center turned up louder on the television; he wanted everyone walking by to stop, wave, and chat with him. Waiting was not what he had in mind and he showed me another side of the ministry of waiting.
Waiting rooms are generally uncomfortable places where people have stuffed large, supposedly squishy chairs with televisions to distract us from what we are actually doing. We are waiting. We are waiting for our turn. We are waiting for someone else’s turn to end. We are waiting, waiting, waiting. What we do while waiting reveals much.
On that particular day of waiting, I let my mind wander, I picked up my smartphone to distract myself from my never-ending waiting game, frustrated that I could not reach for my novel and read in peace. An inner nudge caught my attention, though. The precious moments in the waiting room needn’t be rushed through. I had a bright, excited partner waiting with me who had a limited understanding of patience and self-control. I needed to practice self-control in curbing my own desires and unwrap the joy in our moment of waiting. As the minutes became hours while my husband visited and prayed with hurting friends, I began to listen to my son and see what he saw. All about us lay a playground of opportunity unfurling. We began to sing songs, do finger-plays and giggle. As different people came in and out of the waiting room, we spoke with them, discovered a little of their own waiting game and learned what to pray for them.
Hospital corridors and doctor’s offices are all-too-familiar, and like many places in my life, I take them for granted. But I have a choice, to see my life with grey-filmed eyes, dulling each moment and relinquishing prospects or I can ask God to remove the self-absorbed scales from my eyes. I can repent my self-centered apathy and look around me, see who the Holy Spirit is interceding for, witness the joys and trials of others. I can choose to unclench my fists of impatience and reach out my hands to help, to pray, to encourage others. I can only do any of this if I allow God to move through me, the breath of His Spirit transforming me from the person I was to the one He desires me to be.
What waiting interrupts the flow of your life? How can you make yourself available to God to serve Him?
For further meditation:
A little of the silly fun we had while waiting 🙂