Terminal hold…a phrase used to describe the absence of communication instead of completing the business at hand. We have all been subjected to voluntary or involuntary experiences with being placed on hold during a phone call.
Interestingly, March is “national on hold month” celebrating the fate of those who are placed there (with or without their agreement) and the companies who utilize this time in creative ways. Rather than absolute silence, some companies pipe in music or “commercials” about the company. Either way, we are at the mercy of the person who pushed the “hold” button…that is if and when we get to a human being and don’t get stuck choosing an endless set of numbers hoping to get to the right department.
March is the month to celebrate being put on hold, yet we don’t feel much like having a party. We initiated the call to solve a problem or get information…and we want it now. Delay causes frustration, not celebration.
Sort of like how we act when God puts us on hold by saying “wait.”
Our cultural perspective wants instant gratification and immediate response to our needs or wants. We are frustrated when we don’t understand God’s timing…or cooperate.
Like Sarah, we may intervene and try to force God’s plan (Gen. 16). And, like Sarah, we end up living with the consequences of avoiding the wait (Gen. 16; 21).
When God puts us on hold, there are a number of similarities to our phone experiences. Consider these points:
- Sometimes, we are plunged into silence and wonder if God will ever resume the conversation. Our faith and obedience are tested during these times (James 1:3-4). Will we continue doing what God had instructed, or do we improvise (Isa. 50:10-11) and reap the consequences of kindling our own flame?
- Occasionally, we have “commercials” that tell us about the God we serve. From scripture to sermons, and chance conversations with others, we are encouraged and reminded that God is in control, even when things seem to be at a standstill (Acts 15:31; 1 Thess. 2:12).
- Or, we are treated to music. In the midst of our waiting, we gain a deeper understanding of the sovereignty of God and break forth in praise (Ps. 77)
When a company puts us on hold, we assume they are working behind the scenes to get information or work on a resolution to our concern.
When God puts us on hold, we can be certain He is working behind the scenes (Rom.8:28; Phil. 1:6)…and that takes time.