Have you ever noticed how you have to set an appointment whenever you want to see a doctor, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the doctor is going to keep it? You may be on time, but left in the waiting room wondering if it is the doctor that has the scheduled mixed up.
In those situations, the waiting room can be more painful than the actual time spent with the doctor.
I have had similar feelings in my relationship with God. I know it may sound like a lack of faith to say so, but to be honest, there have been times when I felt like I was on time, but God missed His appointment with me.
Maybe you can relate.
During the season that I stopped working in full-time ministry, I seemed to have a number of “missed appointments” with God. The first was when we found out that my wife’s dad had cancer just as we were making that transition. Shortly after that, my father-in-law went to heaven.
The second “where were you God?” moment was when our house wouldn’t sell. We ended up leasing our home and moving out on the day of our fifth anniversary. We wouldn’t have a place of our own for another two years. In fact, over three years later, we still don’t have a house.
So many “missed appointments” became disappointments during this time of our lives. The thing is, as painful as all of this was, we know God used this season to transform our hearts, character and understanding of His faithfulness.
This doesn’t mean God causes or initiates the problems in our lives. He is not looking to bring loss and suffering in order to teach us to appreciate His blessing. It’s just that He is so good and merciful, that even our darkest moments can highlight His love and faithfulness when our hope is placed in Him.
Have you ever felt like you were in God’s waiting room for an appointment that He missed in your life? Maybe you thought things would go one way, but they ended up going another. You may have thought, “If God would have done His part, then things would be different.”
Having these types of thoughts and emotions can leave you frustrated, doubtful and even feeling guilty. But God is not afraid of these types of feelings or questions. If He were, why would He include so many similar examples in the Bible?
Mary and Martha thought Jesus had missed His appointment with Lazarus. Jesus’ friend, and their brother, had died. If only Jesus had been there, none of this would have happened. He had healed and helped others. He certainly could have done the same for a close friend.
Once He finally arrived, it seemed too late. Only it wasn’t. A few days later, after their “missed appointment,” Jesus rolled the stone of their frustration, doubt and grief away. Then out came Lazarus, and God received the glory for raising the dead.
Sometimes what God does in the waiting room of our lives is more important for our future than what we hoped He would have done in one of our “missed appointments.” Our part is to not figure out His path for us, but to trust Him while we’re on it.
The waiting room where God performs heart surgery is normally not a physical place, but a lingering season that follows a disappointment. These situations often leave us with only a few tough options. We can focus on regret, run away from our problems by ignoring them, or we can look forward to the resurrection that is going to take place in our lives.
We will never have the opportunity to cross the bridge of hope without a valley of doubt underneath. Faith is not ignoring the valley or refusing to cross; it is trusting the bridge God has placed before us.
Josh has written "Shipwrecked: A Journey to Discover Authentic Faith" and blogs at about enjoyable meaningful Christianity at JoshRoberie.com. He helps church planters start new churches at the Association of Related Churches and you can follow him on social media at @joshroberie.