Being in God's Waiting Room
Life is a constant challenge,
but there’s much to learn
when God throws us a curveball.
Have you ever felt as though God has forgotten you? A friend likened this to being in God’s waiting room. Sometimes we can be there for years, wondering if the dreams we have are ever going to come to fruition. We rarely understand why life is so difficult at times, or why certain things happen—or don’t happen—but once we break through to the other side and view the situation from a different angle, we might begin to see that God has taught us some valuable lessons in the process. Time after time, He runs us through the fire, so to speak, to test our faith and strengthen us for some new challenge that awaits us.
I often remember the verse in Romans 5:3-5 that reminds us that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Pastor Greg Laurie put it this way in one of his sermons:
“Tribulations produce endurance or perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. God allows tribulations in our lives because He’s trying to squeeze the best out of us. Just as we get through one trial successfully, God tightens the vice, and once more we are tested. You don’t get oil from an olive or juice from a grape without squeezing, and that's what God is doing in our lives. Take comfort in the fact that your life is a constant challenge, for it means God has His eyes on you!”
Whether you’re still in God’s waiting room or out of it after a long wait, you need to brace yourself for your next appointment with the LORD, because He is not going to be through with any of us until He calls us home. As Oliver North once said in a TV interview, “God doesn’t promise a smooth passage—just a safe arrival.”
Stopped in My Tracks by a Mystery Illness
On July 23 when I began to sing in church, my voice cracked and I couldn’t sing more than a few words. By late evening my voice had dropped an octave, and the next morning I could hardly speak because my throat was so sore. I continued to work as much as my energy would allow because I had scheduled a mammogram for July 24, needed some groceries, and had to finish writing and scheduling the August Bulletin and Personal Musings post the first of the month.
Two weeks earlier, I’d started planning a big garage sale for mid-August, but now my energy was quickly flagging and I soon had debilitating fatigue and muscle weakness in my legs. Whatever bug hit me, I had no idea what was coming next. This was not like anything I’d ever had before, so I did a lot of online searches for what I might be dealing with. A Covid test was negative, and my symptoms didn’t match a cold, the flu, laryngitis, or RSV. I had no fever, but I lost my appetite and desire for coffee. The sore throat was gradually replaced with congestion in my lungs and a cough that brought up mucus for a few days before turning dry but persistent. I never had a runny nose, which is usual for me after a sore throat.
My doctor finally saw me on day 12, saying she couldn’t treat me until she saw how my immune system reacted to this. “It takes 10 days to determine whether something is a virus or a bacterial infection,” she said. Mine was the latter, so she prescribed ten days of three drugs: an antibiotic, cough syrup with codeine, and Prednisone.
On returning to church, I learned a fellow there had gone through the same thing I’d experienced. Although we both felt well then, we agreed that something wasn’t right with our voice box and we often felt like we needed to clear our throat. I’m thankful to be back to normal now, but I wonder if any of my readers have experienced this kind of malady.
Being ill for two weeks was a life interruption I didn’t foresee when I began to plan my garage sale. It made me realize that this big project was too much for me to try to do at my age without more time and help from others. I wisely rescheduled the sale to September 15-16, and with luck, I may have it altogether by that date and will run it the following weekend as well. Too much “stuff” is a heavy burden to carry into one’s old age, and I’ll write more about my “garage sale adventure” in October.
Meanwhile, if you live within driving distance of my home and would like to meet me there, email me for details.
Grieving for My Schoolmates
A different kind of upset hit me on July 27 when I learned that Kay, a lifelong friend I’d had since the third grade, had died after a few years of grieving her lost spouse, her home, and her ability to care for herself because of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. I knew she was ready when God quietly called her home.
In sharing this news with our classmate Kathy, I learned that Lily, another classmate and probably Kay’s best friend, had died a week before of an aneurysm after taking a hard fall. The three of us were buds in 1955 when we graduated high school and headed to Chicago to find temporary work in Brach’s Candy Factory before heading to Minneapolis to attend Gale Institute (a story for another time).
Brach’s was then one of the country's largest confectionary plants, but this historic site finally fell to ruins. In 2007, one portion of the factory was imploded in the movie, The Dark Knight, when the Joker blows up Gotham General Hospital.
I find it ironic that these two old friends of mine had medical issues at the end of their lives that made it impossible for them to communicate with one another before moving out of time. I pray they both made it through the Pearly Gates and will be friends for eternity.
I’m once again resting in God’s waiting room until He decides to test me once more or bless me by sending someone to me who needs the kind of encouragement and motivation I can deliver. I hope when the time comes for you to be an encourager to someone you care deeply about that you’ll remember the tribulations you’ve endured and the lessons you learned by getting through them. Counselor and Coach William DeFoore reminds us that “Life is challenging, for all of us. We need to encourage and be encouraged to move through it with confidence and energy.” The Bible is also loaded with words of encouragement for those who either need it or want to give it:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2; NIV).
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11; NIV).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:3-6; NIV).
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September 7, 2023: Three Short Stories: A Personal Update, Great Western Movie Stars and TV series of the 50s and 60s, and “A Tribute to the Dog.”
August 7, 2023: Are You a Procrastinator? If so, it doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It’s just “the Zeigarnik Effect” kicking in. Understand it and you can beat procrastination.
July 5, 2023: Do You Live Alone or Know Someone Who Does? If so, your life or theirs could depend on you having a plan to get immediate help in a medical emergency if the phone is out of reach.
June 5, 2023: What is Your Legacy? How will you be remembered after you’re gone? What will you leave that has lasting value? How you live your life will determine your legacy.
May 2, 2023: Harnessing the Power of Your Subconscious Mind. Are you using all the information and ideas your subconscious mind has been storing all your life? You know more than you think you know.
April 3, 2023: A Season of Hope in Our Ever-Changing World. Some things—like Easter—don’t change. May this message remind you of all the Lord has done for you.
March 2, 2023: How Music and Exercise Benefit Your Brain. How to keep your brain healthy and engaged as you age, with resources to help you improve your memory and increase cognitive ability.
February 6, 2023: The Life-Changing Consequences of a Bad Fall. Lessons Barbara learned after her second bad fall, products that helped her recover, and her strategies for getting help.
January 19, 2023: 15 Interesting Things to Ponder instead of the News. Writing and Word Usage, Tips for Better Health, Stunning Statistics, Time out for Fun, and an Inspirational Story you may have missed.
Copyright © 2023 by Barbara Brabec. All Rights Reserved.