I have come to realize that I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms. Recently I went to see the dentist and arrived at my appointment time, told them I was there, and then had a seat. Then I waited. There were other people in the process of waiting with me, staring off into space, reading magazines, looking at the floor. The excitement was almost unbearable. . Eventually, they call me and I go to another room to wait some more.
There are other waiting rooms as well. We go to the airport and wait for an airplane. School kids go to the principal’s office to wait for some punishment. Restaurants need to provide space for waiting when they are full. In cold climates they even build outdoor houses to wait inside for the school bus, a mini waiting room.
There is big money in the waiting business. They sell furniture, magazines, coloring books, DVDs, big stuffed animals, aquariums, books, music, overpriced coffee and bland sandwiches, to make waiting more enjoyable. Some places even boast about their amazing waiting rooms. But, honestly, does anyone really go to their appointment looking forward to the wait? Can we really not wait to wait? It is often annoying to have to wait a while, especially when you have an appointment because that is what an appointment is supposed prevent.
One stat said that in 70 years of life an average person would spend roughly 3 years waiting!
Waiting is a part of life. Many of the youth in my youth group can’t wait until that day they can get their driver’s license. They can’t wait until they graduate high school, have a career of their own, a family, a house and debt to pay off. (maybe not)
Waiting goes beyond just the physical life, it is also a part of our spiritual life. Often God has us wait on Him for something. Christian circles will talk about God’s perfect time and the joy in knowing that time. Truthfully, we want it now!
So, if waiting is a part of life, what do we do while we wait? Let’s enter life’s waiting room for a two-part post that highlights 3 helpful activities we can do while we wait. I promise we won’t play any Celine Dion music.
You enter the waiting room and take a seat, after all they will be with you shortly. What is the first thing you do? If you are like most people, you pull out the cell phone in order to text everyone you know or surf the web. I know when I am at an airport, even though I generally have things to do, I have to find someone to call, because what fun is it to sit there and not talk to anyone.
In life’s waiting room, the scene is very similar. For this scene we go to Acts 1. Here we know that Jesus has just gone to heaven and has told the disciples to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They were hanging out on the Mount of Olives at the time, but after Jesus tells them to they head back down the hill into town. They have a task to carry out, but they can’t do it until the Holy Spirit comes. Jesus leaves out the details about how long they will have to wait; he simply tells them to wait. He also does not tell them what do while they wait. What do they do?
“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk form the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealont, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.” – Acts 1:12-14
They gathered together in this upper room and pray. They decide that instead of just staring at each other for however many days, that they would instead communicate with God! After all, who is it that is in charge of this? It only makes sense to seek some direction from the person who gave them the task.
So, they prayed. They are preparing themselves for what’s next, which is very much unknown to them. It says they joined together constantly in prayer. Does that mean that they were super Christians who just prayed and prayed and didn’t even stop when they used the bathroom? No, but they were committed to prayer because they knew that prayer is dependence upon God.
Now, try to put yourself in their shoes or sandals. After 3 years of public ministry alongside them, Jesus has now departed. He gave them directions and said, you will be going and doing when the Spirit comes; now wait. Do you think there were butterflies in their stomachs? Do you think they were just a little nervous about what was going to happen? I would be! They went to the first place they knew to go for answers.
We are to be people of prayer! As we wait on God, we pray. As we go about life, we pray. As we interact with people, minister to people, love people, we pray.
In real world waiting rooms we are very quick to pick up the cell phone and text someone. In the same way, in life’s waiting room, our first reaction should be to communicate with God!
What is your first reaction in those times of waiting? What has been your experience waiting on God? Please share some of your story! If you have a lengthy example, perhaps you would be interested in a guest post. Contact me if that is you.