I once recorded a bit of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the places you’ll go” on my home voice mail. It was clever bit about “the waiting place ….. were everyone is just waiting. For a train to go, or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come …. or a phone to ring or the snow to snow …. just ….waiting.”

I liked the message a lot. But after the first time or two, hardly anyone who called enjoyed sitting through “the waiting place.” Because the truth is, waiting rather quickly loses whatever charm it might have had early on. Even so, I know very few people who are not-at any given time-waiting for something. To receive test results, perhaps. Or to reach the front of he checkout line. To welcome home a loved one. To hear their name called on a try-out list. To be asked to marry, or to dance. To see a stoplight (or a season) change. To hold a baby in their arms.

Like it or not, we all do time in the waiting place. The questions is, will we do anything of value “with” that time? Do we simply languish until our circumstances change-or are we willing to linger in discomfort, and learn while we wait?

The bible is full of wait-ers. Sarai. Elizabeth. Hannah. Moses. David. Hosea. Jonah. Job. What might we have heard if their voices had been recorded? “It’s no use. I’ll never have a child.” Or, “Why shouldn’t I been stuck with someone else’s sheep for the rest of my life?” Or, “I’m a murderer. I’m no good for anything else.” Or, “Samuel must have been mistaken when he anointed me king. Saul will kill me before he lets me take his throne.”

Some wait-ers did wallow in self-doubt and pity …. for a while. But more often than not, these God-followers learned to linger in their waiting places, seeing all that there was to see. And what there usually was to see was evidence of a great, patient, provident God at work – in the smallest of circumstances and in the hidden places of the human heart.

A wise friend told me once that we are never alone in the cold dim cave of uncertainty. When our eyes adjust to the half-light, he said, we will see that there are tens, hundreds, thousands, even – waiting with us. And maybe, he said, and waiting for a word “from” us that injects hope or humor or sense into what seems to make no sense at all.

Are you waiting? Me too. Here’s a meantime word for us both:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power…. those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.”Isaiah 40:28-29,31

What good use could be made of your waiting time? Pray for God’s strength to infuse your weariness-and for His power to supply your might. He has not grown tired in your waiting place, and He is the one who is holding you.