The Waiting Room
A devotional thought from Michael Kelley for “Suffering”
There is nowhere on earth like a hospital waiting room. Most people have been in one at some time or another—waiting because your appendix is bursting, waiting because your kid has a gash that needs to be sewn up, waiting because a friend has been in surgery and you are holding vigil for her recovery. You wait. You wait alongside the smell of stale coffee, the sound of Maury Povich on the hanging television with the “Do not change channel” sign on it, and the sight of pacing, bleary-eyed occupants clamoring for a doctor’s update.
In the waiting room you sit alongside people of every race, culture, and economic background. You wait there together. This place—though full of grief, hardship, and anxiety—might be the closest place on earth to the kingdom of God. In the waiting room all the things that separate people from one another tend to drift away. Somehow, in that small, glass-enclosed space, you don’t seem so different from people of different nationalities or different social circles, of different styles of dress or different languages. You hold one thing in common with everyone in that room—pain.
The pain takes different forms. For some it’s actual physical pain. For others it’s the emotional pain of watching someone close to them suffer. But, indeed, pain is the common denominator of all humanity. Regardless of where you come from, how insulated your lifestyle, how stable your finances, or how healthy your habits, you will have a moment in the waiting room. And in that moment none of that other stuff seems to matter very much. Everyone hurts in one way or another. The question is what you do with that pain.
Pause and Reflect
• How might your viewpoint of suffering change if you realized that pain is the common denominator to humanity?
• In light of that commonality, how do you think God views His people in pain?