What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.
Ah, the infamous waiting room . . . the place where, supposedly, hurrying up to wait is synonymous with patience (I’ve often wondered if the word ‘patient’ is derived from the word ‘patience’). Er, well, never mind. . . .
The reality is, I no longer wonder why a waiting room isn’t synonymous with “waiting patiently”. If you ask me, being a ‘patient patient’ is far too tall of an order and one I’d rather not fill, thank you. “Lord, don’t You know I’ve got issues with ‘SLOW’?? Another lap around Mt. Sinai seems a heck of a lot easier and if You don’t mind, Lord, I’d prefer the easier route. This whole ‘hurry up and wait’ thing is beyond old . . . .”
“At least I won’t be sitting in the waiting room of unfulfilled promises with little more to do than twiddle my thumbs . . . . At least I won’t be just sitting still in the place of hope deferred, the place of hope delayed.”
What is synonymous with a waiting room is: tedious . . . monotonous . . . lonely . . . desolate . . . disheartening . . . hopeless. “Waiting Rooms”, especially when you’re in the “waiting room” of God’s promises, tend to be hard on our hearts: disheartening and hopeless are probably the most accurate assessments.
The infamous “Waiting Room”: a place of uncertainty, a wide-open desolate space that leaves you feeling vulnerable, unprotected: the wilderness. A garden tomb Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.
If this is the “easier route”, maybe this isn’t the place I want to linger. When Life has you in its infamous ‘Waiting Room’ . . . when Life forces you to play the waiting game . . . when Life refuses to “play fair” . . . when Life never seems to move towards the exit . . . when Life seems to be nothing more than a perpetual state of WAITING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . waiting patiently, even patiently waiting, probably doesn’t even come close to making it on your bucket list.
Or is it?
Is it possible that the “Waiting Room” is a place where you’d want to (“gulp”) linger? Is it possible to learn to (“gulp . . .gulp”) wait eagerly, to learn to (“gulp, heave”) wait expectantly, to learn to (“gulp, gag”) wait with eager anticipation when the waiting game isn’t over YET?
Perhaps it isn’t a question of whether or not I’ll have to play Life’s waiting game. Perhaps it isn’t a question of whether or not I’ll spend time in the “Waiting Room”. Perhaps it isn’t a question of whether or not the moments require I hurry up and wait.
Perhaps it’s a question of how I choose to play the “Waiting Game” when I’m stuck in the “Waiting Room”.
“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies within yourself.” ~ Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief
The question is: Do I choose to simply see the “Waiting Room”? Or do I engage in and use the power of observation while I’m in the “Waiting Room”?
Pause for a moment and behold the power of observation:
“I see something strange near the trash can.”
“I see a purple-polka-dotted-people-eater in a florescent yellow tank top and bright green shorts, pummeling a rubbish bin, . . .it’s gurgling and foaming at the mouth!”
(I’ll give you a moment to process the power of observation)
“My heart says of You, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” ~Psalm 27:8
Observing pied beauty is transformative (and, yes, sometimes like the second statement, it can be TMI) because “every time God says ‘Behold!’ it’s an invitation to observe the way He sees things” (Graham Cooke, The Epiphany, emphasis mine). The question is: do I want to observe and see things the way God does? Do I trust the One whose beauty is past change?
Let’s face it: It’s easy to trust before you ever enter the “Waiting Room”. It’s easy to observe beauty before you ever enter the “wilderness”. No problemo.
BUT. . . when I’m in the “Waiting Room” and forced to play the “Waiting Game” . . . Big problemo. It’s when I’m in the “Waiting Room”, when I must choose to behold the beauty of, choose to trust, the One who is past change. . . when the “Waiting Room” door slams shut behind me, I “suddenly suffer” from blind amnesia.
Blind amnesia limits my perspective to the desolate “Waiting Room”. Blind amnesia means my “Waiting Game” strategy is infinite laps around Mt. Sinai. Blind amnesia refuses His invitation to observe. Blind amnesia causes a lack of trust because I refuse to seek His face.
Trust requires that I continue to believe even when I don’t see.
Maybe it’s time to change how I’m playing the “Waiting Game” when I’m stuck in the “Waiting Room”. . . .
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” (~Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The English word gratitude is derived from the Greek word gratis, meaning free. Literally, gratitude is an attitude of being free. Gratitude is the expression of my freedom in Christ: I’m free to give thanks in all circumstances because Christ has set me free.
I have the freedom to choose and express a “heart-i-tude of gratitude”.
I can choose to learn to observe, learn to expect to see, learn to eagerly look for, learn to anticipate, learn to hope for God in the “Waiting Room”. I’m free to trust when I don’t know the outcome. Free to trust when I’m still waiting for doors to open or hoping the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t another oncoming locomotive. In the impossibly difficult moments, I’m free to trust the One whose beauty is past change.
When I trust in those moments, the blind amnesia – what I see in the “Waiting Room” yields to observing – to beholding while I’m in the “Waiting Room” – the One whose beauty is past change.
“[G]ratitude engages the heart as well as the mind” (Emmons, 6). For gratitude to truly be gratitude, both my heart and mind are engaged in the observation of, engaged in observing, the possibilities outside the “Waiting Room”. Freely offering gratitude from the “Waiting Room” means both my heart and my mind are fully engaged in beholding the possibilities, not the impossibilities.
Observe . . . give thanks . . . look eagerly for . . . anticipate . . . expect. . . hope for . . . Euchariesto.
“Waiting Room” Euchariesto: although I can’t yet see it, I’m daring to believe God’s promises never fail.
“Waiting Room” Euchariesto: I trust the One whose Beauty is past change.
“Waiting Room” Euchariesto: I’m eagerly looking for God in the moments.
“Waiting Room” Euchariesto: Qavah.
Hope for the Lord; be strong and take heart and eagerly look for the Lord (~Psalm 27:14).
Qavah is an expression of trust in the “Waiting Room” because I accept the invitation to observe. It’s the joyful anticipation of His goodness towards me. My thanksgiving is worship in the midst of the messiness because it implies posturing myself in absolute expectation of what God is doing and is going to do. Being grateful in the midst of life’s messiness, when Life isn’t being fair, yields the joy I most need in those moments. Joy comes when I recognize that although Life is demanding and I don’t deserve grace, I can find and uncover Grace in spite of everything. “God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy” (Voskamp, 57).
When darkness veils His lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay (Mote).
“A true Christian is one who never for a moment forgets what God has done for him in Christ . . . .” (Emmons, 97). When I choose to give thanks in the midst of Life’s uncertainties, while I’m in the “Waiting Room”, God’s promises, not the problems, begin to define my life.
The Euchariesto is a transformation: a transformation that renews my mind. “The moment, the place where time stands still, stands holy – transforms, transfigures – making all that is dark, evil, empty into that which is all light, grace, full” (Voskamp, 99).
Never underestimate the power of pied beauty perspective . . . .
When I choose to celebrate the grace (gifts) already given, I posture myself in a place of expectation. I may not know or see how He will do it, but I position myself in a place of trust that He WILL do it.
When I posture myself in absolute expectation, I position myself in a place of trust and I begin to look eagerly for Him. When I begin to look eagerly for Him, my qavah infuses hope in the midst of hopelessness; it allows HOPE to arise within me.
“. . . [T]o gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple” (Psalm 27:4b).
Isn’t this an invitation to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4)? Isn’t this, the Euchariesto, my qavah, a dare to recognize Him in the moments, to transcend the moments by capturing the moments? Isn’t it a dare to behold the beauty of the One whose beauty is past change?
The seeking is a dare – the Euchariesto is a dare to seek His face, to begin to eagerly anticipate, look for, expect God in this place, in this moment. “. . . [A] theology of grace that emphasizes God’s unmerited favor cannot fail to lead to an ethic whose basic motive is gratitude” (Emmons, 99). When I accept the dare to seek His face, accept the dare to engage in qavah in the midst of the storm, HOPE arises within me.
How are you choosing to spend your time in the “Waiting Room”? How are you playing the “Waiting Game”? Are you giving power to the storm? Or are you giving power to His joy in the midst of the storm?
Accepting the dare to qavah is to anticipate with gratitude.
Never underestimate the power of pied beauty perspective . . . .
Gift List ~ Grace List
. . . 96. joy that hides in gratitude
97. a double rainbow
98. homemade pizza (it sure beats hospital pizza!)
99. H&H levels slowly climbing
100. still have a job (‘survived’ 1st round of layoffs) . . .