While We Wait
So often in life, we find ourselves waiting. I’m not talking about waiting in the drive-thru at Starbucks. Or on hold with the DMV. Or waiting for our kids to get out of the bathroom so we can just brush our teeth. Though let’s be honest, these things can feel like they are taking forever.
But what do we do when we’re waiting for God to answer a prayer? While we wait for a test result, or the doctor to call? For the prodigal child to come home? For a spouse to come to faith? For healing? For that job to come through?
Can I tell you something? I don’t wait well. If you do, mad props to you. You’re my hero.
A few years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive stage 4 cancer in his sinus cavity. Ever since the original biopsy, we’ve spent time waiting. Waiting for second opinions, third opinions, surgery. Waiting for treatment. Waiting for really smart, educated people with a lot of letters after their name to consult and agree on the best course of treatment. Waiting for healing. Eventually, God defied the medical odds and after a very long season of waiting, we heard the glorious word R E M I S S I O N.
Since then, my husband has had many routine scopes, scans, and monthly check-ups with the doctors, surgeons, and specialists who had a hand in his case. So I still find myself waiting. For a scan to be scheduled. For results to be read. Waiting for the phone call when they share the results with us.
Early on, I decided that instead of waiting for the doctor to call with news, I would call them. I’m proud of the idea, but not my lack of patience. Rather than just asking for results, I took a different approach. I downloaded a calendar of random holidays and found myself calling for another reason, to brighten their day. Great idea, right?
“Hi, this is Sarah Jarrett, I’m calling to wish you a happy Chocolate Cake Day—did you eat a piece today? You should, this day only comes around once a year! While I have you on the phone, do you by chance have the MRI results?” (Or PET Scan, x-ray, blood work, bone scan or . . . you get the idea.) They would laugh. Sometimes they had the results, other times they didn’t. It was a game we played and over the years of these frequent calls, they knew my tactic. I secretly think the oncologist’s office looked forward to hearing from me.
Recently, Matt had yet another routine MRI. They are looking for any sign of cancer, we’re told. After waiting a week, I called the doctor’s office. It was “Walk to Work” day, and I wanted to make sure they didn’t miss this important day. After a bit of small talk, I was told the test results were there, but the doctor was not. I would have to wait.
Finally one night, the phone rang. Our doctor informed me that a 1.2-centimeter area of concern was discovered in the sinus cavity. She didn’t have to tell me this is exactly the same area where the original tumor was located. We will have to wait a month for the follow-up scan. In the meantime, the results will be sent to the rest of our team so they can discuss the next step. More waiting.
What are you waiting for?
Here are my seven practical steps for waiting. I will be practicing these every day for the next month.
- We pray. 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. When I think about how much He cares for me, my heart overflows.
- We spend time in God’s Word. Write it down and memorize it. Psalm 119:10–11 tells us the psalmist sought God with his whole heart, he hid God’s Word in his heart. I write verses on Post-its and put them EV-ER-Y-WHERE. I like to think I’m decorating with 3M.
- We take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us how. Don’t let the what-if thoughts live in your (my) head. When doubts and fears come, replace them with God’s Word. It is alive, it is powerful, and true.
- We think on whatsoever things are true. As it says in Philippians 4:8. Focus on the truths found in the Word. Do I know if Matt’s cancer is back? No. Do I know if we’re going to have to make hard decisions? No. Don’t go there. Don’t wander. But rather, what is true? God loves me. He has a plan for me. He went to prepare a place for me in Heaven where there are no more tears. No more sorrow. No more pain. He sent His Son to die for me.
- We hold tightly to His promises. 2 Chronicles 20:17 and Psalm 27:13–14 are promises God has given to me. Look them up, they are life changers. Write them on a 3M sticky and decorate your mirror.
- We surrender. As Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42, “Not My will, but Yours.”
- We trust. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God knows best, and He has a plan in this. He works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
So today I will wait. And while I wait, I will be talking to myself. Telling my mind what my heart knows. Reminding my heart what I know is true. God is good even when I don’t understand. God has it all in His hands. I can wait. Some of it might even be self-imposed waiting—in a Starbucks drive-thru.