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Delays


I know some have wondered what has happened to me in the now three plus years since Donna went to heaven. How am I doing? Have I met someone else (the answer is no at this time, but I may be inclined to consider some candidates in the future LOL)? Life has settled back into some sense of normalcy for me. The upheavals and disruptions have settled down a bit, and now the normal cycles of life are beginning to reassert themselves. I find myself busy in retirement and keep myself occupied teaching for Moody Bible Institute and my church. Recently I added some further education to my plate in the form of a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages. I have several other projects lined up, and of course look forward to some traveling in the near future.

However, if you are like me, you hate delays, especially if you are in a hurry or are pressed for time. It seems that part of the curse is the more we are in a hurry, the slower we progress towards our goal. You get to the airport two hours ahead of time only to stand in line for 90 minutes to get through security and miss your flight by five minutes. The one day of the month you have a big meeting at work is the day you encounter three accidents on the way to work and even though you left early you arrive to work fifteen minutes late. Why is it the store closes five minutes before you arrive? Life is full of delays. However, lately I have been pondering this issue and have seen that many times in our lives delays is God’s providence in action. We read about some of these times of delay in the Scriptures. In John 11 Christ hears that his good friend Lazarus is ill and dilly-dallies for two days until Lazarus dies (that is from the Schafer authorized version of the Bible) – only then does he begin the trip to see Mary and Martha. When he arrives, Martha communicates the sentiment most of us would have – “if you had been here, he wouldn’t have died!” Mary even gets in on the act as well. But Christ’s delay was for something way bigger! What Mary and Martha, along with all the others, did not know was that there was a resurrection planned and had Lazarus not died the power of Christ and of God would not have been on display as it was. Christ’s delay was for a purpose way bigger than anyone could imagine. Daniel experienced a delay as well. In Daniel 10 we read that he was reading the Scriptures and was fasting for three weeks. At the end of that time Gabriel showed up with the answer to his prayer and explained he had been held up by the Prince of Persia – another fallen angel – and had to ask Michael to come for assistance. Now let’s think about that. Why didn’t God just tell the Prince of Persia to stand down? Didn’t God know what was going on? Or maybe God was pre-occupied with other things and didn’t pay attention to the situation. Why a delay? I don’t know, but perhaps in those twenty-one days of delay Daniel was able to ponder and wrestle with the Scriptures and get a greater understanding of things that he would not have had if he had just been given the answer. The delay here was not because God couldn’t get the message through, but because there was something else going on that required a delay. Sometimes God’s answers to our prayers are delayed because we are not ready for the answer, or because there are some things, we need to pick up on during the waiting period, things that would be missed if the answer came sooner. 2 Peter 3 talks about another delay. This is the delay of Christ’s return. Many today think Christ won’t come back because he hasn’t yet. However, Peter makes it clear that his delay is not due to procrastination, but rather it is to give mankind time to repent. The delay is necessary because if Christ came back sooner many would perish in judgment, many that still need to have some time to repent. I am in a period of delay right now. There is a part of me that would like some real answers from God. I would like to know what my future holds. Should I do some traveling? Should I consider moving to another state (I hate Ohio winters!)? Should I consider remarriage at some point? What about furthering my education beyond my current program of study? Or perhaps there are some ministry and life opportunities I do not see yet. So many questions – yet I have come to understand that the delay in many of these answers is due to the fact I am not ready for the answer at this time. There are some things I still need to work through and experience, and until I do that any answer, I would get at this time would do more harm than good. What about you? Are you in a period of delay right now? Perhaps you have had a major life event that was unexpected such as the death of a spouse, a lost job, a serious illness, the loss of a parent, or some other significant event. Are you wondering what is next on God’s plan for you? You may be asking, where do I go from here, how do I pick up the pieces, what’s in my future, or even, how can I go on?

I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, but God does. He knows what is around the corner for us. So, if you find yourself in a period of delay in your life, do not despair. God is still there. He has not forgotten about you. His plan for your life is still on schedule and when you are ready for the answers to your questions God will be there with them. Until then – wait upon the Lord and trust in his sovereign timing and care. I am!

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