It was a decidedly brown room. Floor, walls, ceiling and furniture were all in shades of brown, sparsely accented with gray and black. The waiting room had clean, modern lines with organic aspects of exposed stone, carefully placed greenery, and floor to ceiling windows on two sides allowing view to the outside and sunlight to pass through the tinted glass. There were armless club chairs that sat independently or could be arranged to form a couch creating two conversation spaces, but enough distance to provide privacy. Four, large upholstered squares served as ottomans, extra seating or a coffee table depending their need. Double, automatic sliding doors opened to a covered area where every few moments cars stopped for drop-offs and pickups. The remainder of the room was open to easily accommodate for all sorts of traffic branching off to areas of admitting, pharmacy, elevators and another wing of the hospital. Despite a steady flow of people, shushing of the sliding doors, the chime announcing the arrival of an elevator, or the occasional mechanical buzz of hand sanitizer being distributed to a germ conscious palm, the room was quiet.
Quiet and waiting...Waiting to sign forms. Waiting for your name to be called. Waiting for test results, blood work, CT scans to be read. Waiting on a word from the doctor or a text message saying everything is ok. Waiting for surgeries to be over and moved to recovery and infection to clear and fever to drop and pain to go away...Waiting.
I always thought I was good at waiting, but maybe I'm not. Maybe, because now I am older and I more aware of the waiting; reasons for waiting and the stakes are much higher. So, I sit in the waiting room and wait.
A few months ago, I spoke with my friend, Kris, who also went through a season of waiting while he spent 97 days in the hospital. That is more than a fourth of a year--97 days of waiting. I talked with him around day 50 and he was in good spirits. We discussed setbacks and waiting; boredom and waiting; sickness and waiting; pain and waiting. He was honest in admitting some days were worse than others, but he was not going to be defeated. He was aware there was still waiting ahead, but either way, time was going to pass and he was already planning what to do next. He reminded me that his faith is strengthened during trials of waiting and he was taking advantage of opportunities and people he encountered while waiting. My waiting seemed to pale in comparison.
I recently had a conversation with my friend, Tishona, about waiting. I was telling her of an individual who had come to one of my signings. He mentioned waiting and shared how God provides avenues for us. I went on to tell her that his statements were very interesting and I looked for scripture with avenues. After several internet searches and checking the concordance in my Bible, I did not find the word. I thought that was strange, because the word avenue stood out to me when he was talking and I was pretty certain it was a biblical word from David, Solomon or Paul. But nothing. I checked several translations, again with the help of the internet, and no avenue.
Maybe I am just overlooking it. Maybe with further investigation I will find avenue buried as a perfect gem in Scripture, just not today. So, I decide to research avenue, its meaning and origin. (On a side note, Mrs. Diane Crawford would be so proud of me. 12th grade AP English, she encouraged us to read; read everything and often and do it with a dictionary, so when we came across a word we did not know, it could easily be added to our vocabulary. With information, literally at our fingertips in this digital age, I am still learning new words. Thank-you, Mrs. Crawford!)
The Oxford Dictionaries define avenue as 'a broad road in a town or city, typically having trees at regular intervals along its sides,'. It goes on to explain that avenues generally intersect with streets. This allows for directional markers to know if you are traveling east and west or north and south. Oxford also says, it is a Latin word that was popularized in 17th Century France which means 'come toward'.
Tishona has taught me so much about waiting and prayer during waiting, because prayer requires waiting. She encourages me to have 'bullseye prayers' – prayers with very specific words and targets so I am certain when they are answered. When I spoke to her about avenues she immediately told me to pray for wisdom and discernment of what was spoken to me and to pray that God will continue to speak and I will have vision to see it come to fruition. So, I looked up wait and its origin means 'observe carefully'.
Come toward. Observe carefully.
But they were scheming to harm me...I sent him a reply: 'Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.' They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.' But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands.' Nehemiah 6:2, 8-9 NIV
Israel had waited through captivity in Babylon. Though they were not imprisoned and were told to live their lives there, they knew the wait was going to be a while. They were held in a land that was not their own and after so much waiting, they are finally allowed to begin to return to Jerusalem and rebuild, but many wanted to stand in their way.
During times of waiting so much can go through my head. Satan attacks me with every weapon in his arsenal. I find it is not my belief in God or my salvation through Christ that he targets, but every other aspect of me spiritually and emotionally. He drags me down in the times of waiting that I forget the waiting is temporary, no matter how long it lasts. Satan gets my eyes off where they should be – Christ, 'author and perfecter or our faith' (Hebrews 12:2) who has promised, 'But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;' (Isaiah 40:31)
The decidedly brown room with the sliding glass doors, large windows, stone and plants of which I have visited several times over the last few weeks waiting, with fear and worry and uncertainty, no longer looks so much like a waiting room, but an avenue. An avenue to come toward God and wait. To wait and observe carefully to determine how He wants me to act and determine where He wants me to go...to Him.