During a series on the book of Acts, Pastor Brett at The Peoples Church gave a sermon titled “The Waiting Room.” In it, he talked about the calling of Paul to the mission field, and how despite having such a powerful conversion experience and clear call, Paul actually had to wait for many years before he was actually sent out to do that work. (You can check out the sermon here: https://thepeopleschurch.ca/acts-multiply/)
Listening to this sermon, I was struck by how much it reflected periods of my own life, when I felt like I was waiting for life to get moving. There was the year after I finished my Master’s degree when I was applying to dozens of jobs, but was stuck in a temporary position, waiting to find something permanent, wondering why God seemed to have led me to stay put in Ottawa when I could have moved abroad or back home to Toronto. There were the years when I went to wedding after wedding, and I wondered why God was making me wait to find the right person. More recently, while going through my infertility journey, I have wondered if my husband and I are supposed to wait like Sarah and Abraham, or if God has a different plan for us that we just can’t see yet.
Waiting is hard, and we really hate it in this instant gratification society. Every day, I see people shove their way into the subway without waiting 30 seconds for the other passengers to disembark. I watch people impatiently tap out several emails while waiting in line at Starbucks because they just can’t stand to be still for a couple of minutes. I see it in myself, when I am annoyed because someone did not respond to my email in a timely manner or on those occasions when I find myself stuck in traffic. “What about my time?” we think when someone keeps us waiting. “Doesn’t it even matter to you? Don’t I even matter?”
God’s idea of time and productivity, however, is different from ours. What we see as wasted time in the waiting room, He may see as training in patience and self-control. What to me may be a useless setback may, to God, be an opportunity to see Him in a different way. During my year of waiting to get a permanent job, I learned to depend on God in a new way as He graciously renewed my temp contract every month, just in time for me to pay my rent. During my single years, He took me through a journey to let go of some of the baggage from my parents’ divorce that I didn’t realize I had been carrying. I have no doubt that God has a bigger view of these infertile years, and that I will look back and see the growth that happened, even amidst the pain.
What are you waiting for, sisters? Is it a career move, a spouse, a move to a bigger house, or, like Paul, the opportunity to step out on the mission field? Are you waiting for a sick family member to get well? Maybe you don’t even know what you are waiting for; you just think that things have to get better one of these days. How can you and I change our thinking so that instead of being relegated to the waiting room, we see this as the green room where we are eagerly preparing for God’s next move for us? Can we follow in the footsteps of people like Paul, David, and Abraham, who had to wait on God’s promises for long time? If you are currently playing the waiting game, take comfort in the fact that God’s plan is always good, and His love for us never fails.