Unbelief in the Waiting Spaces
I battle against moments of unbelief when I find myself in the waiting rooms of daily life. These waiting rooms are the seasons I find myself waiting in the transitional and unknown places.
Will I find reconciliation in a relationship with a long time friend over a recent disagreement?
Will I get the position I have been waiting for?
Will my scans come back clean?
These are only a few of the waiting spaces I have found myself in over the past five years and these waiting spaces have been challenging for me to cling to faith and belief, even when I cannot see.
All too often I have noticed I am not the only one who lives this way. In our humanity, we desire for God to answer prayers like He is a tiny man inside a vending machine. An impatient heart may desire control and immediate answers instead of resting in God’s sovereign control and supernatural time-table. In unbelief and distorted desires, the human heart is prone to wander over to the instant gratification of faith in a microwave, instead of the slow unraveling of learning patience and trust in a God who is good even when we cannot see.
Life’s Temporary Waiting Spaces and Eyes that See
Not all waiting spaces are bothersome. In a restaurant, I am personally more irritated by those who ask the hostess every five minutes if their table is ready than I am irritated by my own forty-to-fifty minute wait. This comes from my short time and experience as a hostess. I know hostesses want to seat people in a restaurant as fast as they can.
When seated at my table, I am usually not bothered to wait for drinks, food, or a server. I identify with the process of waiting in a restaurant because I have experienced the life of a server too. In the life of a server, the tables seem to turn all at once and the needs of the customers sometimes seem outnumber the minutes in the hour.
I don’t mind waiting because I know behind the scenes there is so much more going on that I cannot see. In a restaurant there are servers, line cooks, expos, dishwashers, food runners, and every server has ongoing side work throughout the night. There are important front of the house needs, but what goes on behind the scenes, the things which our eyes can’t see, are all significant parts of the food to customer process.
While waiting at my doctor, I think of this waiting room just the same way I wait on my glass of water in a restaurant. The waiting space is a piece of the puzzle in the bigger picture of going to the doctor. I value the time and attention my doctor gives to my own family, I can visualize what is going on behind the scenes while I am waiting for the doctor. I know I am waiting because my doctor is giving that same care to someone else in the next exam room, and when my turn comes I will receive the excellent, personal care I received just like the last time I was in for a check up.
I seem to be able to remember in life’s temporary waiting spaces.
Heart Issues in the Difficult Waiting Spaces
When I first began reading the Bible in my early twenties, my husband was in seminary. As we traveled back and forth between seminary and home, we would read the Old Testament out loud to one another. I remember reading Old Testament passages like Exodus 16, when the Israelites have been brought out of slavery in Egypt, but still they are complaining about God’s provision for them in the desert. The Israelites all too easily forgot that God had delivered them from slavery, and He was bringing them to the Promised Land.
I used to ask Michael, “Why do the Israelites whine all the time? Why do they so easily forget?”
Well, now I know. Because I too am just like the Israelites in my own personal waiting spaces. I fail to wait patiently on the Lord and His timing.
In the waiting room of my own life, when I fail to see God working behind the scenes, I find myself checking in at the counter too often asking impatiently, Lord, when will my wait be over? When it comes to daily life and answers I need right now, I’m a constant bell-ringer, toe-tapper, and heavy-sigh huffer.
This comes from a desire to control. Control creeps up in my heart all too often. I toe-tap in my prayer life instead of sitting in the waiting spaces of life with hopefulness. With belief in the assurance that God is working behind the scenes, and trust that He is giving me the specific care my heart needs even while I wait.
Truth for the Fight to Believe in the Waiting Spaces
Slowly I am learning to fight to believe in the waiting spaces. It is in the waiting spaces that God is working in my heart in ways I cannot see. He is teaching me to lean into His Promises and remember that He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. It is in the waiting space where I see my distorted desire to control.
A few pages later in the Old Testament, the book of Deuteronomy is a call for the Israelites to remember. Remember what God has done before, and remember what God has Promised He will do in the future. When we feel impatient in the waiting spaces we need to soak our hearts in gospel truth. We need to remember that God is always working even when we cannot see.
Verses to Memorize and Use as a Balm for your Heart in the Waiting Spaces:
Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He makes everything beautiful in its time.
Psalm 27:14 When I wait you strengthen my heart.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, I am with you.
Psalm 121:4 He who watches over Israel will never sleep or slumber.
Lamentations 3:22 The Lord’s lovingkindness will never cease, His compassions never fail, they are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion.
Colossians 1:27 He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.
2 Corinthians 4:18 We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Behold, He is making all things new. Even when we cannot see in the waiting spaces.