by Nancy Wilson, MEd, LPC, MBA

People often go to therapy when they are in times of transition, in what I call the waiting place. There are so many examples of this: infertility, job loss, cancer, heartache, break ups, divorce, depression, anxiety.

Why is waiting so hard? In part, because we are made aware that we are not in control of our own lives. And that's frightening. We have to trust a God that we can't directly see or hear or touch. Normally, when things are going well, we act as if we are the god of our own lives. And if we're honest, it's easy to trust God when things are good, or they go our way, but to trust God in suffering, in uncertainty, in waiting, that takes a faith greater than our own.

I want to invite you to think about the times or places you have had to wait....What did that feel like? Have you ever felt so anxious in the waiting place that you can't sleep at night, or so angry that it made you sick? Have you ever felt so depressed and hopeless in your waiting that you question if you have the strength to go on? Have you ever felt so discouraged that it's hard to even get out of bed?

The psalmist felt this way. In Psalm 13, verses 1-2, he wrote:
         How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
               How long will you hide your face from me?
         How long must I take counsel in my soul
               and have sorrow in my heart all the day?

The waiting place is lonely. It can be scary and full of fear and confusion. Waiting often feels like suffering.

Can you trust God in your waiting? Can you trust a God who would let your spouse die, or let your child get cancer, or allow you to lose your job? Is God even good? The cross tells us that the answer is yes.

The story of Jesus is the story of someone who will walk with you in the screwed-up dark places. He will walk with you when your heart is broken, and he will walk with you when you wait. In fact, Jesus spent time in the waiting place, too. Jesus questioned, he suffered, and he loved to the end. He did all of that for us.

You may not always feel able to receive God's love or hold the faith. Try to remember in those times that we're not created to do life alone. Speak up. Reach out to friends, a pastor, or a therapist. You may need someone else's faith to hold you up when you can't find your own. That is why we are a family, the body of Christ.

In the waiting place, God can make beauty from ashes, he can give you strength for your tears, joy for your mourning and peace for your despair. God sees your suffering. And his love shines most strongly in our weakness.