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August 30, 2018

Surviving Delays

“Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and He will help you.” Psalm 27:14 (TLB) 

All of us struggle with delays.  They’re never convenient.  Who likes having to wait?  We live in a microwave generation where everything is instant.  So, why would God allow delay to be part of the process of growing us into Christlikeness?  Wouldn’t He want to speed up the process to accomplish His purpose in our lives?  Yet, every great man or woman in the Bible went through delay.  Abraham had to wait 25 years, Moses waited 80 years, David waited over a decade and, even, Jesus didn’t begin His earthly ministry until He was 30.  Until then, most of them lived in obscurity with nothing more than a promise from God to hold on to, a dream of what God wanted to accomplish in their lives.  Before that dream became a reality, each one faced delay.  The same is true in our lives.  It’s God’s program for remodeling us into the image of His Son.  So, why does God allow delays?  Here are three reasons I’ve discovered in my own life that will encourage you if you find yourself in God’s waiting room, trying your best to survive the delay with no end in sight.

First, delays mature our character.  When you can put off what you want for what you really want, you are on your way to maturity.  One version of the Bible puts Psalm 27:14 like this:

“Wait on the LORD. Be courageous, and He will strengthen your heart. Wait on the LORD!” (ISV) 

In David’s delay, he realized an important truth that changed his perspective in the waiting period.  God was using the delay to make him stronger.  Some things can’t be rushed, like slow cooking meat so that it will be tender and flavorful, our character needs time to grow and mature. It’s in the delay that we begin to trust in God’s timing and in God’s ways to accomplish His purpose in our lives.

Secondly, delays prepare us for our purpose.  Delays never destroy God’s purpose.  Solomon wrote:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.”  Prov. 19:21 (NIV)

Sometimes, we are waiting on God; but, could it be that God is waiting on us for our character to match His calling before He can use us to accomplish His purpose?  Before He can build us up, He must renovate our lives by demolishing old habits and sinful ways.  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul describes this as old things passing away before all things become new!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Finally, delays draw us closer to God.  In that decade or more that David was on hold, he found himself on the run from King Saul as a wanted man.  He lived in the desert and hid in caves.  He knew God had called him to be King, but God used the delay to draw him closer and forge in him an unshakable faith. God led him to a stronghold where he learned a vital truth recorded in Psalm 91:1-4 (NLV)

“He who lives in the safe place of the Most High will be in the shadow of the All-powerful.  I will say to the Lord, ‘You are my safe and strong place, my God, in Whom I trust.’ For it is He Who takes you away from the trap, and from the killing sickness.  He will cover you with His wings. And under His wings you will be safe. He is faithful like a safe-covering and a strong wall.” 

I believe David moved from just surviving in the delays to thriving as his perspective changed and his character matured.  What about you?  How are you handling the delays in your life?  Which one of these three reasons for delay do you sense God may be speaking to your heart?  Quit resisting and embrace the delay as part of God’s process in shaping your life for your destiny. Let David’s own words soak in your soul for a bit and encourage you.

“Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and He will help you.” Psalm 27:14 (TLB)