Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Waiting Place

One of the waiting adoptive families I'm working with (thanks Sue) sent me this devotional she found online about waiting. Boy did it bless me. Everybody is waiting on something, right? Our family is waiting on a transplant. So many of my friends are waiting on children to come home. I hope this blesses you like it did me.

The Waiting Place

I once recorded a bit of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Goon my home voice mail. It was a clever bit about “the waiting place . . . where everyone is just waiting. For a train to go or a bus to come, or plane to go or the mail to come . . . or a phone to ring or the snow to snow . . . just . . . waiting.” I liked the message a lot. But after the first time or two,hardly anyone who called enjoyed sitting through “the waiting place.” Because the truth is, waiting rather quickly loses whatever charm it might have had early on.

Even so, I know very few people who are not—at any given time—waiting for something. To receive test results, perhaps. Or to reach the front of the checkout line. To welcome home a loved one. To hear their name called on a try-out list. To be asked to marry,or to dance. To see a stoplight (or a season) change. To hold a baby in their arms.

Like it or not, we all do time in the waiting place. The question is, will we do anything of value with that time? Do we simply languish until our circumstances change—or are we willing to linger in discomfort, and learn while we wait?

The Bible is full of wait-ers. Sarai. Elizabeth. Hannah.Moses. David. Hosea. Jonah. Job. What might we have heard if their voices had been recorded? “It’s no use. I’ll never have a child.” Or, “Why shouldn’t I be stuck with someone else’s sheep for the rest of my life? I’m a murderer. I’m no good for anything else.” Or, “Samuel must have been mistaken when he anointed me king. Saul will kill me before he lets me take his throne.”

Some wait-ers did wallow in self-doubt and pity . . . for a while. But more often than not, these God-followers learned to linger in their waiting places, seeing all that there was to see. And what there usually was to see was evidence of a great, patient, provident God at work—in the smallest of circumstances and in the hidden places of the human heart.

A wise friend told me once that we are never alone in the cold, dim cave of uncertainty. When our eyes adjust to the half-light, he said, we will see that there are tens, hundreds, thousands, even—waiting with us. And maybe, he said, waiting for a word from us that injects hope or humor or sense into what seems to make no sense at all.

Are you waiting? Me too. Here’s a meantime word for us both:Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power . . . those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength.

Isaiah 40:28–29, 31
What good use could be made of your waiting time? Pray for God’s strength to infuse your weariness—and for his power to supply your might. He has not grown tired in your waiting place, and he is the one who is holding.