Waiting rooms. Doctors’ office waiting rooms. Surgery waiting rooms. Emergency waiting rooms. How many times have you been there? Waiting for a loved one who is sick to see the doctor. Waiting for the doctor to diagnose or treat an emergency pain or situation. Waiting for the surgeon to patch up some broken, infected, or rebellious part of your loved ones’ body.
What do we do while waiting? We worry and fret. We pray. We reminisce over all the good memories—and sometimes the bad. We wonder about the future. What will happen during the recovery process? Will we have to miss work, school, vacation, etc.? Will they be able to care for themselves or will we have to find caregivers to assist us? Are we facing a short illness, or months of recovery? So many questions; we often sit and stew in our own private misery.
Do you ever look at the other people sitting around you and wonder what their story is? Do you wonder who they are waiting for, what they hope to hear, and how they came to be there? Does it ever cross your mind that they are in the same situation you are in—waiting, wondering, and worrying?Reach out to those around you and see if you can offer them encouragement, comfort, and hope. Click To Tweet
Have you ever thought to reach out to those around you and see if you can offer them encouragement? I’m not saying to start prying into everyone’s business—this is a personal, trying time for many. Some may wish to stay isolated, keeping their focus inward, or be more comfortable just keeping to themselves and working through their crisis alone and in their own way.
However, it has been my experience while sitting in the waiting room alone, that if you say a kind word or two to the person near you, they are only too happy to start talking. It may not be about their immediate crisis; it may be about something general—the weather, the hospital cafeteria, wondering why they let children under 12 into any waiting area with adults, etc.
You might be surprised to find that even light-hearted conversation alleviates stress—both yours and theirs. More surprisingly, you might find that these seemingly inconsequential conversations will lead to sharing more immediate concerns. This can be an excellent opportunity to encourage and comfort other Christians and strengthen their faith. For someone who is not a Christian, it can be a time to introduce them to Jesus and the hope that they can find by accepting Him as their Savior. Who knows but that God has placed you in this waiting room, at this time, to be His messenger of hope and encouragement to this person (or persons) who so desperately needs it?Perhaps God has put you where you are to be His messenger of hope and encouragement. Click To Tweet
I can remember times I’ve sat in the waiting room with family and friends for either my loved ones or theirs, waiting on good news and bad. I can also remember a couple of times when I waited in the emergency room alone while the doctors worked to slow down my husband’s rapid heartbeat. (This was due to the fact it was the middle of the night and I didn’t want to “bother” anyone. I won’t do that again–It is lonely and frightening waiting in such serious circumstances by yourself!) There have been many other times I’ve been left waiting for a loved one when friends and family were around. These times, while stressful, were not nearly so overwhelming because I had someone there to share the stress of waiting with me.
So how do you reach out to others in the “waiting rooms” of life? For some this will be easy—starting conversations with virtual strangers is no big deal. For others it may take a little more effort. Here are a couple of suggestions that might help in these situations:
- Be aware. Stop thinking only of your own situation. Look around, see that others around you are suffering as well.
Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24 (NLT)
- Pray. Ask God to show you who you need to reach out to. Ask Him to give you the words to say.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 (NLT)
- Start a conversation. Comment on the weather. Offer them a cup of coffee. Many times, polite conversation will lead to more meaningful conversation. Follow their lead (and the Lord’s). Most of the time body language with tell you whether they will be receptive to conversation or not.
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17 (NLT)
- Share your faith. Share your story. Introduce them to the Savior. Share how He is helping you through your current situation and/or how he has helped you in past situations. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Mark 16:15 (NLT)
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Psalm 96:3 (NLT)
- Pray with them. If they are not comfortable with that, pray for them on your own. Send them on their way with renewed confidence in the Lord or introduce them to a relationship with the Lord.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT)
So next time you are sitting around in the waiting rooms of the world, look around. You never know who God might have put in your path so you can help share their burden and reassure them that they are not alone. It will surprise you how often you see God at work in the lives of those you meet. And you will be amazed at how much quicker the waiting period seems to pass, when it is spent doing the Lord’s work.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.