Thursday, March 8, 2007

Why the "Waiting Room"?

How long should it take somebody, before they can be someone?--"Typical", Mutemath

You cannot deny that most of our lives are spent waiting. At stop lights, stop signs, restaurants, the doctor's office, for a friend who's running late, for services to begin, or a movie to start--I find myself in this humble position more often than I would like. It really is a humbling thing, isn't it? You are completely dependent upon someone else to determine when it will be your turn and call your name. When you can finally begin. The references to waiting and waiting rooms in music, movies, and literature abound. It seems that I'm not the only one who has contemplated the prevalence of waiting and how difficult it can be. Fugazi, C.S. Lewis, Sixpence None the Richer, Tom Petty...and God Himself. There is so much written in the Bible about waiting. It's very clear: We are to sit at the feet of our God and wait. Wait for His timing, His will, His purposes, His marching orders. So clear in fact, that Jesus even provides us with the example of Mary and Martha. Twice. The first time we see them all together, having a little get together with some food and friends. Poor Martha's rushing around, fretting herself with the details, while her sister Mary can be found sitting and learning at Jesus' feet. Martha finds this a bit frustrating, but Jesus explains to her that Mary has chosen what is best (Luke 10:42). So often we rush ahead because we simply don't like waiting. We're too impatient. And it's difficult when we live in the fast food, instant gratification-addicted world we live in. We are so used to immediate results that we've come to expect them. We want it and we want it now! And if we don't get it, then something's wrong, right? Well, maybe we were never supposed to have it in the first place.

The second example is found when Lazarus dies. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." The words of both Mary and Martha. Now they knew who Jesus was. They'd seen him perform miracles. They followed Him. They were His disciples. This was echoed by the same Mary who, just a few passages before, could be found sitting and waiting with Jesus. Where was her faith now? Why wasn't she simply waiting for Him to see what He would do when He arrived?

So often it feels like we are waiting on God to show up on the scene. God, if you had just shown up a little bit earlier...God, if this hadn't happened then...God, why won't you just make x, y, and z happen? But Isaiah 30:18 says:

Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as he said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them.

So who's waiting on whom? Lord, conquer me so that You don't have to wait on this stubborn fool longer than necessary. I'll be waiting.