I’m in line at 3:00 AM, flyers in hand, shivering in the cold, clutching my coffee. The day after Thanksgiving. What a beautiful time! I wait eagerly for the doors to open at 5:00. Is two hours too long to wait to get the stereo system with the 5-disc CD changer for $59.99? Not a chance! I grab the stereo, dash over to Wal-Mart for door-busters there, a quick stop at Penney’s, then arrive at work at 8:00AM!
The waiting room is crowded. He leans on the counter and growls at me, “My appointment was 45 minutes ago. When am I going to get in there?” My mind flashes to the hours of waiting I had just gone through. Before I can answer, he does the unthinkable, speaks those all too familiar words, “My time is as valuable as his!”
SNAP! The straw has just broken the proverbial camel’s back! I smile my ever so sweet, the patient is always right, receptionist smile, reach under my desk and pull out my soap box. Marching around the counter I place the box firmly on the floor, step up onto it and begin, “This gentleman thinks his time is as valuable as the doctor’s. Maybe you think yours is also, but frankly, it is not.
You are here today purchasing something with your valuable time that you cannot provide for yourself and that you have great need of. Wasn’t that you on the phone last week begging, ‘I need to see the Doctor right away’? And I got you an appointment. So here you are, spending that valuable time of yours to see someone with the skill and ability to literally feel your pain and fix it.
But now you are crying foul, ‘I don’t want to wait. I want to see the doctor NOW!’
Some of you are probably the same people who would camp overnight on the sidewalk to get tickets to hear your favorite band or play-off tickets to a big game.
I just spent two hours standing in line to get a deal on a Christmas gift for my daughter. Was it too long? Of course not!
We wait for these things because the end result is more valuable than the time we spend waiting for them. I’m here to tell you that the end result of waiting to see the doctor is also more valuable than the time you spend waiting for it.
I once waited 45 minutes in the waiting room to see my neuro-surgeon, and then 15 minutes more in the exam room. She had the skill and knowledge to perform the surgery I needed so I happily spent some of my time waiting to see her. Well, maybe not happily. OK, definitely not happily, especially when I remembered that I would have to face Seattle rush hour traffic, something I had specifically planned to avoid by scheduling my appointment for an earlier time. But, I needed her help, so I did what I am telling you to do, take a deep breath, get a magazine, think happy thoughts and wait.
I know your time is valuable. There may even be occasions when your time is more valuable than the doctor’s. If you have the ability to repair his car, or fix his leaky plumbing, or connect his cable, he will probably be willing to wait for you until you have time. At that point, your time is more valuable than his because you can provide him with what he needs. Right now his time is more valuable than yours because he can provide you with what you need. So be patient. Be thankful you even have access to a doctor.”
I then smile my ever so sweet receptionist smile, get off my soap box and join my fellow receptionists who are desperately trying to answer the literally hundreds of phone calls we get every day, only to hear the sharp words, “I’ve been waiting for ten minutes to get through. That is unacceptable. My time is as valuable as yours you know.” Oh really? You need an appointment. I can do that for you. Be nice to me.
Being in God’s waiting room is not the same as waiting in the Doctor’s office, but it can sometimes feel like we’ve been there forever. We can become discouraged and impatient waiting for Him to answer. But, He will answer, possibly not in the way we hope, but regardless, our trust in Him is never misplaced.
“Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7a KJV
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 KJV
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