We have described “ The Waiting Room” as being those times in life when there isn’t anything you can do, those uncomfortable, frustrating times. We often feel helpless. We may wonder if God sees, if He cares, and why He doesn’t do what we want Him to do.
What we think about God will drive us to Him during these times or away from Him. So it is really important that we examine what we truly believe about God. If we run to Him or from Him will help us to identify some of our thoughts about God. When we are in the waiting room, we are tempted to think:
· God is absent
· God is angry
· God is unfair
Most of us, if not all of us, hate to wait!
We have looked at Joseph who was stuck in Egypt away from all of his family and unjustly accused and imprisoned. We saw how Daniel handled his time in exile and how he dealt with circumstances that were difficult and dangerous. Last week we saw how John the Baptist was locked away and his doubts were heavy on him even though he knew full well who Jesus was . His waiting room took its toll on him as well.
Geoff shared this week about the Apostle Paul and his experience of waiting for God to answer his prayer. Paul experienced the waiting room through prison, shipwrecks, and beatings.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul asks for the “thorn in his flesh” to be removed and God responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There we trust that:
· God is sovereign
· God is enough
“My hope is not in healing. My desire is healing; my hope is in Christ.” – Matt Chandler
In the waiting room:
· Be realistic – your waiting room may be your destination
· Be content
o Look up in worship
o Look into how you can grow
o Look around for how you can serve
“God, whatever comes my way I will trust you!”
· Where do you see impatience or struggle with waiting in your life?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 - Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 1That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
· What do we learn about Paul?
· What do you think might have been Paul’s thorn in the flesh?
· What do we learn from Paul’s request?
· Why might Paul feel entitled to God answering his request differently?
· Today some would say if you are experiencing a difficult situation you should pray in faith and God will answer it if you only believe enough, have enough faith, claim the right promises. What do we learn from God’s handling of Paul’s request?
· What should we remember about God in the waiting room?
The waiting room is place we all find ourselves at one time or another. We make choices about how to respond during these times and those choices reveal things that help us to grow.
· If worry never changes the outcome, then why do you think we worry?
· What would we have to do or believe in order to stop worrying?
· When life or circumstances feel out of control, what options do we have?
· What is a realistic expectation in our struggles?
Read Philippians 4:12 — I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
· How do we learn to be content like Paul?
· Geoff suggested we should look up (worship) – look in (what can I learn/how can I grow) and look around (don’t get self-focused and pity party occupied) when we are in the waiting room. Which of these have you done and how has it helped?
· How might you grow in contentment and God’s grace this week?
· How can we pray for you?