Written by Lawanda Martinez
I have heard people say, don’t pray for patience as if patience is a bad word. The idea is that if we pray for patience then our patience will be tested constantly. The bible says patience is a fruit of the Spirit. How can anything the Spirit produces be bad? Fruit takes time to grow and the time needed for growing is considered waiting. Are you waiting patiently? Anytime I think of waiting, I not only think about fruit growing, I imagine waiting in a doctor’s office for an appointment. Are you in a waiting room right now? Are you being told to wait?
I am no stranger to being told to wait. I’ve had my variety of struggles and hard times. Recently, I was homeless and displaced. I wanted to look for a place to live or settle for just any place to rent for me and my kids. I also wanted what God would have for me. When I inquired of the Lord for His direction He asked me to trust Him and to wait. I actually wanted proof in writing that He wanted me to wait. He was faithful and confirmed His word when I read a something I wrote from a message at church. The note stated “a patient waits in the waiting room.” As I began to think about my situation, I rewrote the note to state “patience waits, in the waiting room”.
I began to ponder the idea of a patient waiting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, waiting to be called. Once the patient is called, the patient is directed to a room where more waiting occurs as the patient waits to be seen by the doctor. Once seen, the patient may be referred to have tests done or obtain a prescription. Both involve more waiting.
My waiting room experience happened over the course of three months. I was living my everyday life- going to work, church, the gym, the grocery store and simultaneously I was in a waiting room, waiting. During this time the fruit of patience was developing. Through seasons of suffering the roots of patience were growing deep. As my trials continued, the fruit of patience was finally maturing. The greatest part of waiting for the fruit of patience was when I was able to taste God’s faithfulness and His blessings.
I was in need of a place to live. I had looked for rentals and homes for sale and it only frustrated me to see homes that were not in my budget, the wrong size, or in the wrong area. There were pressing issues at work and with my sons that needed my focus, and looking for a place to live was an additional burden. A burden that God did not want me to carry. I prayed for direction and I pleaded with God for an answer. God had already answered me. He said wait. And the revelation from the note said “patience waits, in the waiting room.” If love is patient, then love waits. If God is love, then God waits too.
During this time I had shared with my son that the Lord told me to “wait.” Later, I said, “should I be looking for a place?” and he replied to me “looking is not waiting, wait means wait.” Again, I thought to myself what does it mean to “wait”?
I was reminded how all throughout the Bible we are told to wait on the Lord. At the doctor’s office you know at some point you will be called. Sometimes we approach the receptionist to make sure we haven’t been forgotten because we’ve been waiting for so long. Yet we really have no alternative if we want to see the doctor, except to wait. While waiting at the doctor’s office, I usually bring things to occupy my time while my main focus is listening for when my name is called. I am waiting but I am not bored. There are other things I can get done while I am sitting down, this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to rest.
I could have disobeyed God and continued looking and getting bitter; instead I obeyed. I had peace about God’s instructions to me. I stopped looking and I waited. Since the burden was lifted, I began to enjoy my situation, discovering the good and the opportunities available to me. By not having household chores or expenses to deal with, I had more time to visit family and time for myself. I made a budget, I paid off necessary debt, my credit score increased and then one day out of the blue I received an email asking me if I was still in need of a home. It was a 4-bedroom home that I now own. When escrow closed I already had equity in my home.
What I learned through this waiting room experience was that it was impossible to wait well, until I had total confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. I knew He had the ability to bring about a good resolution because I had a promise from God. Jeremiah 29:11 He has a plan and it is for good, to give me a future and a hope. My job was to believe God meant what He said. I had to stay in the position of waiting so that I was ready when He called my name.
God said He knows the plans He has for me and they are good. My outward situation seemed devastating, however inwardly I knew my foundation was my relationship with the Lord. I had been through hard times before and God had always seen me though. In similar past experiences I had always waited in fear. This time there was no fear. I had grown with God to know that He was not oblivious to what was happening in my life. I knew He had the answers and I needed to trust Him. God said wait and so I said ok.
Even though I may not know the appointed time, I know that to wait means carving out time, believing God will answer me within a specified time, and that He will help me, even after hours if necessary. God doesn’t always share how long we are required to wait. That is where faith comes in. Remember faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Having the confidence in God’s ability to bring about a good plan within His appropriate time is our responsibility. Then we will taste the sweetness of His faithfulness because we took the time to wait and we allowed patience have its perfect work in us.
Do you find yourself in a waiting room experience? This is your chance to allow more faith to develop, as you trust in Him every minute of the waiting. Remember to put your total confidence in God’s faithfulness. Know that God has a good plan for your future (Jer 29:11). He is trustworthy. He loves you, put your hope in Him again. Even in waiting- believe God and believe His word. Jeremiah 29:11 is for you.