Waiting Upon the Lord; Thoughts on the Waiting Rooms of Life
“Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile.” – Genesis 40:23 –41:1
When you are waiting on the Lord, it can feel as if your life is on hold. And Joseph knew this feeling all too well. For two years he wondered if the cupbearer had remembered to mention him to Pharaoh. And during those two years, his prison cell became a “waiting room” of sorts. We all can relate to the story of Joseph. We have all felt at some point in our life that we were stuck in a waiting room, waiting on the Lord. During those times, what are we to do and how are we to respond? To answer this question, let us ponder a few things about literal earthly “waiting rooms.”
To begin with, don’t be surprised when you have to wait. What do you do in a waiting room? You wait. And so when you feel stuck inside one of life’s waiting rooms, you are to simply wait on the Lord. Noah patiently waited 120 years for rain as he constructed the Ark. Moses waited upon the Lord’s call upon his life for forty years on the backside of a sheep pasture. Elijah was sent by God into the wilderness for a time of preparation as he patiently waited on God’s next move. And Joseph waited on the Lord in His prison cell. In each case, the Lord allowed a season in each of these men’s lives to be spent in a waiting room. So when we too enter the various waiting rooms off the hallway of life, it would be good for us to remember that it is God who places us there in the first place.
Secondly, remember that just because you are waiting doesn’t mean God isn’t working. If you’ve ever felt stuck in a literal waiting room, you probably have wondered if who you’re waiting on is even working. Take for instance a tire shop. Imagine pacing back and forth in the waiting room, occasionally looking through the window into the service area. You wonder if they have started on your vehicle. But unlike the waiting room at the tire shop, the waiting rooms of life do not offer a window for you to see what is taking place on the other side. This means you cannot see what God is up to. But know this; He is working while you are waiting. God knows you are in the waiting room and He has not forgotten you. And, when He is ready, He will let you know when it is time to come out of the waiting room. That is what the Lord did for our friend Joseph. After two years, God brought Joseph out of his dungeon of a waiting room to accomplish His purposes. And He will do the same for you.
Thirdly, when you are in a life waiting room, don’t waste any time. Maybe you have been guilty of wasting time while sitting in a literal waiting room. Personally, I have conducted various mental exercises such as counting floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and even chairs in a meager attempt to make the time go by faster. The truth is, people will do almost anything with their time (even if it means wasting it) just as long as it makes the time go by faster. As Joseph sat in his personal waiting room, he might have counted the blocks in the prison cell walls. But one thing we can be sure of; Joseph did not waste his time while incarcerated. We know this because of his continual commitment and dedication to the Lord after his release from prison (Genesis 41:16). While stuck in his personal prison cell of a waiting room, Joseph used his time wisely and was busy cultivating his personal relationship with the Lord.
May our prayer be the prayer of the psalmist when he said; “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). And may we find comfort in the great promise Isaiah penned when he wrote that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:31).
– Pastor Eric