“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28, ESV)
“It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9, ESV)
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13–14, ESV)
I hate to wait. Patience is not one of my virtues. Perhaps that’s why the Lord continues to leave me in the waiting room. He intends to bring me to a healthy dependence on Him. He’s hooked up my heart to a slow-dripping dose of unfulfilled longings. I’m afraid the late Manfred George Gutzke got it right, “In order to be long-suffering, you must first be long-bothered.” In order to become patient, I must first be one.
Recently, the Lord has used His Word as an X-ray to expose my broken longings, so that He might reset them. I’ve been self-medicating on the wrong hope; a hope for circumstances I believe would suit me better, soothe my soul, and stimulate new growth. But these verses set the sights of my heart on a vision of health worthier of my waiting.
Am I “eagerly waiting for Him,” and on Him, and in Him, and with Him, no matter what (Hebrews 9:28)? Do I long for Him to save me, to continue the work of healing He began in me so many years ago (Isaiah 25:9)? Will I submit to the prescribed regimen of disciplines He will use for working out my salvation? Could it be that waiting is spiritual therapy to strengthen my trust muscle? Am I willing to trust that the Great Physician is mercifully making me whole right here and now? I so easily hope in circumstances I believe will “save” me, rather than in the One who has promised to transform me no matter where I am or what’s going on. Do I believe my eyes will see the Lord’s goodness at work in the land in which I’m living (Psalm 27:13-14)? I need the corrective lenses of His Story to clearly see that He will even use where I am and what’s going on to work out what He wants for me.
I am accustomed to sitting in waiting rooms, eager to see the one I hope will heal me. But this Physician is already out here in the waiting room with me. The waiting room is part of His prescription. The healing is happening; He is curing my cares now, lovingly realigning my longings. By the suffering of longing He strengthens my long-suffering. He has made me His patient to make me patient. He is healing my broken hopes by setting them on Him.
The cure my heart craves is not in better places, positions, possessions, or people, but in His conforming my heart to the likeness of His Son. This Heart Surgeon works in the waiting room, in the places and positions He’s put me with the possessions and people He has given me. Waiting makes room in me for more of Him.