The appointment was for 11:15. I expected to be in and out in maybe fifteen minutes. All the doctor was going to do was confirm the lab results and say, “See you in a year.” In fact, that is exactly what happened, except for the fifteen minutes part. Oh, I may have been with the him for 90 seconds, but I was in the waiting room for nearly 90 minutes. Sure, pass on your “I can top that” story.
The staff was understanding and when I finally saw him and before he said anything else, the doctor apologized. The fact of the matter is that he was not off saving a life or counseling a distraught patient who had just received very bad news. The fact of the matter is that he is a really good doctor. He takes time with his patients and listens to their concerns and answers their question and likes to talk. At 11:15 he was at least an hour behind schedule. For sure, I will go back a year from now because I like a doctor who takes time with his patients and answers their questions. Even if I have to wait for over an hour to hear that everything is fine and see you next year, I’ll go back.
But I hate the wait.
I got some work done while I was waiting – emails that needed to be answered and a couple of articles I meant to read.
Why did I have to wait? I know why, and the explanation is good enough. Was it a huge waste of time? Not really. I got some good work done.
Still I hate the wait.
Waiting is a part of the Christian life. It is not some necessary evil, a temporary inconvenience. It is essential to the Christian life. It is a discipline to be mastered, not a distraction to be endured.
I should have welcomed my time in the waiting room as an opportunity to grow in piety.
Finally, Christians welcome waiting because we know that for which, for whom, we wait – “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul tells the Philippians (3:20).
We wait, enduring much more than the inconvenience of old People magazines, because we know that those who humble themselves under the mighty hand of God will be exalted in God’s proper time (1 Peter 5:6). We know the old wisdom that reminds us that God makes all things beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Today, among those who are a part of the LPC family, among those whom I am honored call friends, are those who are waiting for a new job, though there is none on the horizon. There are those awaiting a final diagnosis, mostly likely a confirmation of a discouraging early diagnosis. There those who languish in a hospital bed, not giving up, because they know so much more about the importance of waiting than I do. There are those who wait for a telephone call from an estranged family member because, despite all that has happened, they still love them.
I was a little cranky about my 90-minute wait at the doctor’s office. Not because anyone was rude or that I wasted all that time. I was cranky mostly because the 90-minute wait was not what I had in mind, not what I had planned. I can’t remember if I thanked God that all is well and that I don’t have to go back for another year.
Waiting is a Christian discipline and it requires a kind of patience that comes from and is sustained by the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, God, for my 90-minute wait this past week. Use it to humble me and mold me even as I await your beauty in all things.
See you Sunday