I write this as my wife Diann and I spend hours each day sitting in a hospital room where Diann’s mother is being treated for an infected leg. We spend a lot of time doing much of nothing. We sit and watch her mother doze in her hospital bed or, for variety, doze in the recliner beside her bed. When she wakens we talk, though she’s short of breath so these are not extended conversations.
I take a break and roam the hospital halls. I read. I write (including this piece). I go back to my mother-in-law’s room and sit again. We take a break and get lunch or dinner, then back to her hospital room to sit some more.
By most ways of measuring productivity we’re not scoring very high. Any “to do” list has been scrapped for the time being. Our main purpose is to simply be here, to be with Diann’s mother, the work of being present. It is the work of waiting, waiting for my mother-in-law’s leg to heal some more, waiting for her to regain some strength, waiting for whatever is to be.
I’ve come to believe, from both personal experience and from the study of God’s Word, that waiting is one of God’s most effective methods for getting us to be more like Him and to more likely do His will. In what ways, you ask?
First, waiting drives us deeper into a humble and profound dependence on Him. We wait for Him to act. The busyness of unbelief, going into action ourselves because we believe God is not, has been forcibly taken from us. Waiting either drives us toward increasing frustration or deepening faith, the choice is ours. And so in our waiting God also waits, on us, to yield to waiting on Him.
Second, waiting almost always gives us opportunity to draw nearer to others who are in the waiting room of the experience with us. Maybe they wait with us, maybe we wait on them to get better or to change. How well we wait usually impacts those around us. Waiting during those times when we don’t see much of anything happening is intended by God to have positive things happen with those relationships.
Waiting, ironically, can be hard work! However, God will be with us in our waiting and will work in our waiting for it to be for the good. Just wait and see!
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14