In Psalm 73, the author contemplates whether or not he should be like those who disobey God. After all, he writes, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind” (v. 3-5 ESV).
The psalmist finds himself examining the lives of the ungodly. And what an easier life it seems to be. One in which the ways of God are rejected. The desires of the flesh fulfilled. The riches of the world consumed.
In fact, the psalmist continues, “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (v. 12-13 ESV).
Hey there! Are you still in the waiting room? If so, I have good news. This week, I’m continuing my “In the waiting room” series on John 11:1-44. I’m studying three reasons why God keeps you waiting. Allow me to share them with you.
First, God is glorified through your waiting.
Remember, this series comes from the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. It begins like this: “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:1-6 ESV).
“Have a seat. We’ll call for you shortly,” they say. Open a magazine or two. Ruffle through the newspaper. Scroll through Facebook. And watch some news on a tiny television. Welcome to the waiting room.
It can’t get much worse than this, folks. The waiting room sits among the most dreaded places on the planet. Next to the Walmart checkout line.
But how often do we find ourselves here? Not the typical waiting room decked with cushions and chairs. Rather than waiting on a doctor, we’re waiting for an answer. A cure. A job. A spouse. A friend. I think you get the point. None of us are exempt from the waiting rooms of life.
I’m surprised by the size of self-help sections in bookstores. Maybe I shouldn’t be. According to an article from The New Yorker called “Improving ourselves to death,” there’s a self-improvement industry that “takes in ten billion dollars a year.” Why? Because people everywhere—of all ethnicities, cultures, and religions—recognize a need for help.
It’s not a new concept. Consider the words of the psalmist who writes, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2 ESV).
I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. But I love words. And in his play, “Romeo and Juliet,” a simple quote calls for my attention.
From the Italian city of Verona, a family feud takes place between the Montagues and the Capulets. These two families hate one another. But Romeo (who belongs to the Montagues) and Juliet (who belongs to the Capulets) fall deeply in love.