Not just a medical waiting room. God’s waiting room. They are waiting on God for an answer, for direction, maybe a miracle. And you feel like there’s not much you can do. Well, actually nothing you can do. And you know their heart is restless and aching, maybe even breaking.
From someone who has been in God’s waiting room- a lot- I can tell you 3 things that are helpful to say and one course of action that may be very well meaning, but it’s incredibly annoying, so stay away from it!
1. I’m praying for you. Four simple words that say it all and say enough. It lets them know that you are for them, that you are waiting alongside of them for an answer, and that you are believing that God is going to act in His way and His timing.
2. I love you. When it feels like your life is in limbo, it’s easy to look around and feel like everyone else’s life just keeps moving forward. It is easy to begin to feel alone and lonely. Then you can begin to feel like no one cares about your situation. Reminding them that they are valuable to you and you care deeply can encourage them greatly.
3. Keep me posted. Not only does this echo your care and concern, it also opens the door for them to continue to share their feelings with you. It invites them to give you new prayer requests as they arise and reminds them that you want to walk through this troubling time with them as much as possible.
And now for the no-nos! From the girl who has stuck her foot in her mouth more times than she can count, I share this with you from experience. When we see others we love going through something difficult, we feel like we have to say something. Oftentimes though, we don’t know what to say, so we say something well meaning, but not helpful. I don’t know, maybe I’m all alone with this knack for spouting off the obvious, but here goes……
The standard spiritual platitudes are intended to be encouraging, but in actuality they are not, so please stay away from these most common reminders.
God is in control. Well thank you, Captain Obvious. Can you also remind me what day it is and the color of the sky? Of course He is. When you are in His waiting room you remind yourself of that infinitesimally, you don’t need someone else to do it for you.
You just need to have more faith. Really? I don’t doubt that our times of waiting are often a faith building exercise in our lives, but God doesn’t sit on His throne shaking His head saying, “When Hilda finally gets some faith under her belt, then I’m going to stop making her wait for answers”. Look around, we’re all waiting for something.
And the very best thing you can do for your loved one in the waiting room? Listen. If you are committed to praying for them, then listening to them is the best way to discover how to cover them in prayer effectively and specifically. Don’t try to be the expert, just be someone who cares.
What has someone said to you when you were in God’s waiting room? Was it helpful or hurtful?
Do you have a favorite verse that you turn to when you are in God’s waiting room? Would you be willing to share it to encourage someone else?