Everyone is in a hurry today and nothing seems to make us really angry more than facing a delay. Ever find yourself driving down the highway and coming upon a car going about 10 miles an hour slower than you and the other lane is packed with cars? It’s frustrating to say the least, but then again the delay is God’s purpose and He has a reason.
Everyone’s schedule is jam packed today, but what happens when you find yourself waiting for another person or in a doctor’s office and the wait time is going way too long in your estimation? Do you thank God for the delay, knowing He has a purpose for it?
Let’s face it. We all face suspensions in our schedules and agendas from time to time. If we aren’t careful, those delays can get the best of us and even get us down, unless, of course, we consider all things from the hand of God and take it as a divine delay for our good.
Habakkuk 2:2–3 (ESV) — 2 And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Like Habakkuk, we may be awaiting a word from the Lord or we may be on ready. We may even be a little anxious about things but fail to hear God say wait. Our anxiety is really accusing God of not knowing what is going on if things are not unfolding as we think they should or at what speed we think.
Failing to catch God’s delays can make us seem really foolish. There was a man who wanted to run with a message but ran with no message so instead of bringing news from the battlefront, he could only say he saw a great commotion.
2 Samuel 18:26–30 (ESV) — 26 The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27 The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.” 28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30 And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.
Not catching God’s divine delays can not only make us look silly and do some really dumb things, it can actually bring God’s judgment upon us, especially when He has made it clear we should be waiting on Him.
1 Samuel 13:8–14 (ESV) — 8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Saul lost out because of his impatience with God and so shall we if we do not see the delays, no matter how trite they seem, as delays from the hand of God for a purpose.
If seizing the moment of every delay is important, we must be ready to accept the delay as from God and make the most of those delays by being prepared to wait. Since waiting is hard for all of us in the 21st century, it’s important we have a plan to handle a delay and remind ourselves to remain on ready even while delayed, lest we fall into the trap of cynicism.
2 Peter 3:3–7 (ESV) — 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
It may be a delay, but God has a purpose as He works according to His timetable not ours.