I’ve never had a lot of patience. Waiting is not something that I do well at all. I know a lot or people say that, but anyone that knows me well will vouch for me when I say I don’t have patience. If anything, I’m sitting at minus 100 percent when it comes to patience. And if that wasn’t enough, God, in His grace, has created me with a deep curiosity and need to know everything yesterday. Put those two charming traits together and you’re looking at a gal that wants to know everything about everything and wants to know it now; I want the blueprint of the journey so that I know exactly where I’m going, how I’m getting there and what snacks I’ll be having. So, when it comes to making me wait on things, well, that just shows that God has a quirky sense of humour.
I don’t know what you’re waiting on in this season. I shared in my last blog, The Waiting Heart how I’m struggling in my season of waiting to become a mother. As a single female with no dating prospects in sight, waiting to meet the man of my dreams and have a family feels like something that will never happen. But still I wait. I don’t know what you’re waiting on. Maybe you’re not waiting on anything, or maybe you are. Maybe you’re waiting for restoration in a relationship, or for a job, or for healing. I don’t know what it is, but I think we can all agree that waiting generally isn’t fun.
Sometimes waiting isn’t too bad, especially when it isn’t that long. But there are times when waiting can be excruciating. If you’re unwell, or in chronic pain, even a week of waiting can feel like a lifetime, let alone years of waiting. It can overwhelm us, and I can honestly say that there have been times when it has rattled me to the core. But if there is one thing that I have learned in the waiting, it’s that the waiting room is a wilderness of sorts that God uses to unravel and reveal what’s stirring in the deepest parts of our soul. You probably didn’t want to hear that but it’s true.
There is an unraveling of sorts that happens in the waiting. When I think of it, the image I get is of a patient with a bandage over their eye. Gently, the doctor removes a layer at a time, slowly taking the cover off their eyes and helping them to adjust to the light. And from what I know, seeing light for the first time after having your eyes covered, can be harsh and a little painful. But as the eye gets used to it, they can start to see the world around them. They can start to see the beauty that they have missed out on.
That’s what God does with us in the waiting room of life; He unravels the layers so that we can see better.
And by doing so, He shows us what’s really going on inside. He shows us our fear and our pain and our pride. He shows us the labels and the lies that we have taken on. The sin and the shame that we carry. The pain buried deep inside. One by one, the Lord removes the layers until we are standing raw and vulnerable before Him, all our layers and bandages in a heap around our feet. If you have been there, you know that it is a painful place to be in. It hurts and it’s hard.
But in the waiting room is also where restoration starts.
Restoration only comes on the back of acknowledging what’s really going on. It’s only when we have had all our layers stripped away; only when we can come to a place of truth before God, that part deep inside the soul where only you and God meet, that we can start to heal. That’s where healing and restoration start, with truth and honesty before God, because God is gentle and kind and won’t force Himself on us. When we stand in surrender with all our stuff on display, the One that created us can start to restore us, and no one can restore like Jesus. When we allow Him, He takes our deepest pain and fear, the lies and pain that has held us captive for years, and He starts to heal. And in that healing, He reminds us that we are loved and worthy and adored by Him.
Isaiah 61:3 says that that the Spirit of the Lord will grant to those who mourn beauty for ashes; he will give us the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit (paraphrased by me). He will replace our pain with joy and replace our tears with laughter. In the wilderness of the waiting, God gently refines us. Is it painful? At times, yes, but it’s worth it. Because letting go of pain and fear and shame is releasing. It is freedom for our souls, and it makes room for the things that God wants us to experience; His peace and love and joy. It makes room for healing. For forgiveness. For mercy. And it allows us to see what we generally don’t see in our pain; that God is moving and working on our behalf. It helps us to see that we were never in the waiting room alone, but that God was with us the whole time. And as our eyes adjust to His beauty and grace, we start to see that the waiting wasn’t wasted. It never was and never will be wasted.
If you are sitting in life’s waiting room today, can I encourage you to lift your eyes and seek Him. Your waiting is not wasted but is a time of growing and learning and being refined, so ask Him what He wants to show you and teach you as you wait. And allow His love and grace and mercy to cover you as He brings you to a place of healing and contentment in the waiting.