Learning from a Waiting Room

Sitting in the hospital waiting room is a sobering experience. You are surrounded by a collection of people, both patients and family, most of whom you don’t know. You don’t know why they are there. You don’t know how serious or life-threatening it may be. You don’t know how troubling it is to the patient, their friends, or their family. Your surrounded by strangers who are in a similar circumstance.

But here is one thing you learn in the waiting room: life doesn’t show favoritism. Life is no respecter of ­persons. ­Sickness, bad health, and even death visit everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, educated or ­uneducated, black or white, etc. It happens to everyone. It brings a reality to what the Hebrew writer said, “It is ­appointed once for man to die…” (Hebrews 9:27). The word “man” in that passage refers to everyone. No ­exceptions.

I was reminded as I sat in the waiting room that everyone also needs the Gospel. No exceptions. Peter learned this lesson in Acts 10. Before the Lord could send Peter to teach the first Gentile, he needed to be taught how to view people. The vision he received in vv. 9–16 was designed to teach Peter one lesson: “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

When Cornelius’ servants arrive, Peter quickly connects their request to the vision. This is revealed in Peter’s own statement:
“And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of ­another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”” (Acts 10:28–29, ESV)

Peter understood the need to go with them because no person is “common or unclean.” Later Peter says, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Peter taught the first Gentile and fulfilled God’s design. God used him as His means to tear down the wall between Jews and Gentiles. Ever since, the Gospel has been open to any man (Galatians 3:27–29).

The waiting room does more than just show us that all men are equal. It also reminds us of the brevity of life. Which means, everyone needs the Gospel and they need it right now. And waiting until we see someone walking from the waiting room to their next surgery to share the Gospel is waiting too long. Death shows no partiality. God shows no partiality. Neither should we.

The next time you question whether you should share Christ with someone, think of their family sitting in a ­waiting room while they are being operated on… Don’t wait till that day. Do it today. Share the Gospel with anyone and everyone you can today.