Sometimes God’s Sovereignty violently collides with my lack of control. I’m not talking about self-control here, even though it feels like even my “self” is so in the hands of God that I am resigned to simply being still.
Maybe you’re a little bit like me. Maybe you feel drawn to “be there” for others in their time of need. And you feel the world’s greatest guilt if 1) you’re not able to be there and 2) if your being there doesn’t actually help. Welcome to not being God, and not being able to do God’s job. I’m very much aware lately of how much I’m not God and how much I’m not able to do any of His tasks. Not even one! And if you can imagine me wringing my hands and pacing furiously, you’ll get a small glimpse of what it looks like to be in the waiting room of God.
I AM IN THE WAITING ROOM. And it’s infuriating!!!!!! Yes, that’s an overload of exclamation points, because GAH!!!! UGH!!!! WHYYYY!!!!
When I cool down from feeling absolutely useless in the situation, I begin to feel peace. With that peace, comes comfort. I have to trust what I don’t see. I have to. There is literally no choice in the waiting room except to trust. Until I trust, I will bang my head on the wall and wear out a trail on the carpet. My struggle is a human problem. My struggle has an expiration date.
Want to know what I can’t do?
I can’t do spiritual heart surgery.
I can’t tell you dates and times for important milestones.
I can’t fend off someone else’s depression.
I can’t step into someone else’s shoes and do life for them when they’re all out of fuel.
I can’t make somebody move forward.
I can’t take thoughts out of people’s heads.
I can’t explain why some miracles happen and some don’t.
I can’t bear to hear every pain, venting conversation, and complaint.
I can’t plan ahead, really, if you think about that in a very deep level.
I can’t tell you the formula for motivation or the remedy for apathy.
I can’t make someone choose the best and let go of the rest.
All I can do is trust. All I can do is say that God is breathing and reigning. His hands aren’t shaking and He’s not scared. He’s not the least bit insecure. He loves with unfailing love.
We go through life thinking we have control, and then we come into these situations and get slammed with the reality of God’s power and our dependence on Him. If it doesn’t make you weep and kneel, maybe you haven’t been exactly where I am. Desperate prayers, baby. I can’t save my loved ones. Only God can. I can’t spare people from pain, and God allows a measure of suffering that, to me, is hard to watch. I flinch from pain because, alone, I can’t heal. I weep for death because, alone, I can’t resurrect. Yet in Him, with such authority, there’s no pain or death. These things are defeated. No wonder He doesn’t have panic attacks. No wonder He doesn’t freak out like we do.
Yet here we are, humans. Mortal flesh in a dark world with viruses and accidents and awful diseases of the mind and body, and the fear of them! The fear itself is painful! Percentages and statistics. Risk analyses. I drive on a highway that tells me how many deaths there have been on the roads this year. I work in a hospital and when that beeper goes off, it means something terrible happened. This isn’t fair, God. This isn’t fair. I’m a prayer warrior and you know I do that first. I don’t understand the pain that doesn’t go away in Jesus’ name. Honestly, neither did Paul. His conclusion?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
What does it look like to boast about your weaknesses today? Ask the Lord this very question. Ask Him what He wants you to do while He does what He’s doing. The answer might be something like REST or BE or TRUST or GIVE IT TIME or GIVE IT SPACE… I picture it like there’s a magazine in the waiting room, and the cover has that answer on it. What is the Lord asking you to do while you wait? What does your cover say?
Dependence on God is our reality. Our help does not come from our brains or our hands, or each other. Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. It’s the only Store that sells it, and wouldn’t you know, He gives it away freely.
When I can’t be there to see things with my eyes, I have to trust that the Holy Spirit is very much there. His presence, unlike mine, can change everything. I am His vessel, and I can walk in His authority, but I am no substitute for the real thing. Jesus makes it loud and clear that He’s the Savior. That’s His job. He’s the One who rescues, heals, and restores. We are the Body of Christ, but the Body is controlled by the Head. The Body reacts to the Head, and not the other way around. He’s every step ahead of any movement we make in Him.
Let God do His work in you and in others. There’s a time to lay hands and stand on chairs, loudly declaring and commanding things, and a time to sit. Just sit. I pray you know the difference, and that you don’t let the trials of this world drive you absolutely crazy. I pray you endure the waiting room with grace and confidence, with the poise of someone who knows the One in charge very very personally. I pray you yield your burdens, worries, and fears, like a child would. There’s a pressure on believers to calm storms, when sometimes we’re just too freaked out. It’s okay to wake Jesus, if that’s how you feel.
Jesus, wake up and calm this storm.
Jesus, do what only You can do.
Jesus, teach us how to BE and how to WAIT and how to TRUST.
The world has taught us all the stressful things, but would You teach us now the restful things? Help us to entrust You with our loved ones and our dreams, as we wait in hope and lean on Your goodness in the waiting room.