Meditations for Finding Peace & Hope in a Health Crisis | The Waiting Room

Meditations for Finding Peace & Hope in a Health Crisis | The Waiting Room

The waiting room. A place that one rarely—if ever—desires to be.

I’ve spent a fair share of hours in waiting rooms twirling my thumbs, aimlessly scrolling social media in an attempt to distract myself from what is to come—seeking something to ease the emotions that well up inside amid the wait. 

The anticipation as you await the sound of your name. The fear of what the doctor is going to say. The frustration when minutes tick into hours and you haven’t budged.

The wait is always a bit unpredictable and a bit unsettling. It’s a place we could all use a dose of comfort which is why I am excited to share The Waiting Room: 60 Meditations for Finding Peace & Hope in a Health Crisis with you.

Author Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage has written a perfect companion for our time spent in the waiting room. Today, she is sharing her heart behind the book with us in a brief Q&A. 

Author Q&A

Will you share with us what led you to write this book? 

When our twenty-two-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor and subsequently endured four brain surgeries in a nine-month period, I spent many long hours in a variety of waiting rooms. In this same season, my father was dying of late-stage cancer, so when I wasn’t caring for my son, I was caring for my dad. 

In every waiting room I visited, I saw the often despairing and frightened faces of people whose loved ones had serious diagnoses. My heart ached for those who didn’t know the hope of the gospel. I knew I couldn’t have endured those long hard days without knowing the comfort, mercy, and grace of God in Jesus. I wanted to write some short meditations that could remind people of their hope in this hard place. 

What do you hope others will gain from reading this book? 

I hope others will discover the true hope and lasting peace that comes from knowing that Jesus has saved us and is growing us, even in the midst of tragedy. I hope they won’t feel so alone, that they will know the comfort of one who has sat in those same places.

How have you seen this book help others?

Because I had spent so many hours in a waiting room, I was aware of how short our attention spans can be in that space. I deliberately designed the devotionals to begin with a Bible verse, and then to be fairly short, to end with a prayer and some suggestions for further reading as well as journaling reflection. 

People found this format to be so helpful, because if they only had time to read the verse, they had the biblical encouragement. But if their loved one was resting, they could delve deeper into more Scripture or process their feelings through journaling. If they were struggling to pray, prayers were available to get them started. I’m so pleased that the format as well as the content seems to have reached people in that difficult space. I have just written a follow-up devotional for people in any kind of crisis (From Recovery to Restoration), and I followed this same format. 

"Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:10

From The Publisher

Whether you are the caregiver or the patient, the “what-if’s” of the waiting room can feel terrifying, and the wait can feel agonizing. Cancer, tumor, stroke, traumatic injury, or major surgery—a health crisis of any kind involves waiting. This waiting arouses many emotions: fear, uncertainty, sorrow, agony, and anger among them. In this devotional for caregivers and patients, Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage reminds us of the certain hope and surpassing peace of the gospel: God has worked miraculous deeds and redemptive wonders in the past, and Jesus will “soon” come again to end our wait, and to bring full and final healing. These sixty meditations for peace and hope will encourage you as you wait.

What’s Inside

Each meditation includes:

+ A relevant Bible verse.

+ A brief story related to waiting in a health care crisis.

+ A gospel reality that brings peace and hope.

+ A brief concluding prayer.

+ One or two suggestions for further action—Bible reading, links to music, reflection questions, other calming activities.

About the Author

Elizabeth Reynolds Turnage, M.Ed., M.A.C.S., is an author, teacher, and story coach. When her son was diagnosed with a brain tumor while her father was also dying of prostate cancer, Elizabeth became a cancer caregiver, spending many long spells in many different medical waiting rooms. She and her husband, Kip, an orthopedic surgeon, love spending with their four adult children and their spouses.


“This brilliant book is a tender gift of the presence of God for those caught in the deep woods of medical uncertainty. When we are in the hospital waiting for resolution, we don’t need a long chapter of admonitions or vague mumblings of comfort. We need a guide who has traversed this terrain and has a compass and a map to help us orient our journey. Elizabeth Turnage offers wisdom that has been hard-won, meets the test of the gospel, and is beautifully and brilliantly written. I can’t recommend this book more highly than to say you need a copy for yourself and eventually for every friend or family member who is called to wait for redemption.”

Dan B. Allender Ph.D., Professor of Counseling Psychology, Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology