The Weight of Waiting

by Mike McKinniss

waiting room

by Chris Norton

I don’t like waiting rooms. They’re uncomfortable. No one wants to be there. No one knows what to say to the other waiting people, people whose paths would most likely never otherwise cross, brought together only by the need to be waiting at the same time at the same place for the same reason, and uncomfortably, may I add, because who, after all, likes waiting?  We want to get to what we’re waiting for and then move on to the next thing we’re waiting for.

We’re always waiting. We wake and wait. We wait for our coffee. We wait for the car to warm up. We wait for our lunch break. We wait for quittin’ time. We wait for our paychecks. We wait for the weekend. We wait and we wait and we wait some more. Life is one big waiting room and we’re all sitting here together—waiting.

Sometimes we wait for big things: A longed for spouse, a life-changing call, a critically needed cure. That’s when the waiting gets really uncomfortable. I mean, squirm in your seat, pace the floor, glue your eyes to the clock uncomfortable. And what do you say to someone whose watched pot just won’t boil? Heck, whose burner doesn’t even seem to be turned on? What do you say then?

Don’t lose hope. Oh, I know, this can sound so cliche. So pat. So darn trite. But it’s true. There is hope. Where there’s life, there’s always hope.

In this season of Advent, of expectant waiting, as we wait for what is coming and remember what has come, we can wait with hope, peace and, yes, even joy. As we look back and celebrate the birth of the baby King who changed everything, we can look ahead and await His second coming. When all waiting will cease. When all hope will be fulfilled. When everything will change once more.

In the meantime, how exactly can we wait with that aforementioned, seemingly elusive hope, peace and joy? I just finished reading a book in which the author laid out three seasons of time: chronos—the progression of chronological time; kairos—the right, strategic, opportune, now time; and pleroma—the fullness of time. He likened these seasons to pregnancy, labor and birth.

Notice before fulfillment comes waiting. It is, to some, the most difficult part. The expectant mother may experience uncomfortable weight gain, swelling, nausea, mood swings, back pain, and sleepless nights, but growing inside her is a promise so precious, so pure, so lovely and true, and herein lies hope swollen with joy. We await the holding of our promise, the seeing with our own eyes, but never again will we be quite so intimately involved. Never again will we hold this promise inside our being—growing, protecting, nurturing, sharing, feeling two-as-one, in such a miraculously inter-connected way.

When my promises are born I revel in holding them in my arms, looking into their eyes, smelling their sweet scents, caressing their velvety skin; yet I mourn my empty womb. I long for the fullness and flutters; I miss the intricate intimacy, the unhindered unity we share during those long nine months I’d wished would hurry up and get over with.

I learned the importance of embracing each season. The beauty of being pregnant with promise. The birth will come, but cherish the waiting. It is a season of great importance, of absolute necessity. Without proper preparation promises may be lost. We must trust the once baby King who holds the seasons in His hands, who knows all too well the trials, and triumphs, of waiting.

Rest assured: We don’t sit alone in our waiting rooms. We are with Immanuel; God is with us. We can wait with faith, confident of what we hope for, sure of what we have yet to see, knowing we are waiting with One who will never leave us, who is well acquainted with sorrows, whose glory will soon be revealed. In Him we find our ultimate fulfillment. In Him we find hope, peace and joy, yes, even in the waiting.