How do you deal with the waiting periods of your life – the periods of great loss or sickness or waiting for a job, a spouse, a baby, or some great deliverance in your life? How do you wait before God brings about any resolution? The best thing we can do is to go on with our lives. There are some things we can do during these dark periods that seem never-ending.
Keep up your routines.
Satan would paralyze us with the pain of waiting and whisper in our ears, “Wait until things are back to normal before you get back into your routine.” But life doesn’t work that way. We still have the intact parts of our lives demanding our attention. Maybe we’ve lost a spouse, but we have the children to tend to. Maybe we’ve lost a job, but there’s plenty to do at home as we job-hunt. And no matter what we’ve lost, there is the day-to-day upkeep of our bodies and our homes.
I know that hobbies help me at such times. Choosing to do something that has been an important part of my life and schedule – something that I enjoy doing – can relieve stress and begin the healing process.
Plants, for instance. During particular periods of stress in my life, I’ve found myself attacking the job with added ferocity. I repot, prune, water, and manure with frantic energy. A friend dropped by to see me on one such day and asked, “Where is that neat tree that stood by the door?” I pointed to the bush that sat meekly in the same place! “Stressed?” my friend inquired sympathetically, gazing at what was left of the tree. “Stressed,” I replied. “I’ll pray for you,” she promised. Routine helps to reestablish normal patterns of life for us and makes us feel a little bit more secure.
Keep up your relationships.
Sometimes people cannot cope with other people’s pain because they don’t want to confront their own mortality. At other times they feel helpless or don’t know what to say, so they just keep out of the way. For whatever reason, sometimes when we suffer, alienation comes along with it. Are we able to wait out these difficult seasons in our relationships? Or when we get no response, do we throw up our hands in frustration and say, “This takes too much energy. If that’s how they want it – that’s the way they can have it?” As far as it is up to us, we need to reach out and maintain our relationships.
Keep the faith.
It isn’t easy to continue going to church or do ministry during, or immediately after, a period of pain and suffering – and yet there is healing if we do so. I know how difficult it can be to go to a worship service and hear everyone singing happy hymns. One more happy chorus and I’ll scream! you think. But there is a certain therapy in worship and service. Not the least of it because in ministry we often meet a lot of people a whole lot worse off than we are. It’s like the old saying, “I was sad because I had no shoes—until I met a man who had no feet!” In Christian service we usually bump into a quite a few people who have no feet! In helping and encouraging them, we find a measure of relief ourselves.
What did Jesus’ follower do while they were waiting for the Comforter to come after Jesus had ascended into heaven? “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14). They waited in faith. During their wait, all they knew to do was pray and stay together –and that’s what they did.
While I’m in God’s waiting room, I can realize that my character is under divine reconstruction. I can try to normalize my routine (with lots of English cups of tea and a big pair of pruning shears or similar helps). I can continue my religious disciplines, whether I am feeling “connected” or not, and keep up whatever ministry is feasible for me. I can also try to mend whatever fences I can and try not to worry too much about the ones that only God can mend at some future date. Persisting in all of this will help me regain my spiritual perspective.
Are you in God’s waiting room? Are you waiting for a baby to be born? a prodigal to return home? a spouse to reconcile? Are you waiting for someone to share your life with? For a job? for a cure? Wait on the Lord and not on the answer. Try to concentrate on His person, His plans, and schedule – His business. Your growing faith will not stop the agony, but it will help you find a measure of productivity in your life.
Just Between Us Magazine
Just Between Us Magazine