The Design and Danger of a Delay Part 1 & 2

We often talk about dreams.  Those inner visions that propel us forward to fulfill our divine destiny.  But what happens when they are late in arriving, even after you have worked and struggled to bring them to fruition?  How do you deal with the delay between the dream and that moment you know you have arrived at the desired outcome?  Sometimes there is so much disappointment in the delay that it may seem difficult to move forward into all God has for us.

The longer I live, the more I thank God for the DISAPPOINTMENTS in my life. Some of my WORST moments now serve as some of my BEST altars! – Raymond Woodward

Have you ever had a God inspired dream that didn’t happen as quickly as you thought it should? Yes, you had worked at it, but it seemed that many obstacles came against you. Finally, you gave up in despair and the dream lay dormant.  Think with me for a moment about the delay for the Children of Israel when they had been freed from their bondage in Egypt and were told by God they would inherit a land of promise.  Most of us are probably familiar with the story and how their fear talked them out of their future.  It is a sad story of an often experienced reality in our own lives.

As I was thinking of this I wrote down how I believe God may use delays in our own lives.  I will get to the dangers of a delay later this week, but check out these 3 things about delays and how they are a part of the design of God.

  1. God uses delays to prepare us. God uses delays to get us ready for those difficult times that we are going to face during the course of our journey. These delays are designed to fortify our faith and make us stronger.
  2. God uses delays to test us. Deut. 8:2, “God led you through the wilderness for forty years… testing you to find out how you would respond and if you would obey Him.” God uses delays to test how we will respond under pressure and to test our loyalty and obedience to Him.  Although the Israelites were responsible for their time in the wilderness, God still used it for their good.
  3. God uses delays to train us because sometimes it takes longer to get Egypt out of us than it does to get us out of Egypt (TWEET THIS).  God uses the delays to break those habits and thought patterns and train you in His way of thinking and doing things. The best thing to do when you are in God’s waiting room is be patient and let God do His work in your life.

If you find yourself in a delay and the dream is not becoming a reality in your life, I challenge you to look at the delay in a different light.  Next post we will discuss the danger of what we often face when in the midst of a delay.  Till then – KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

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In our last post, we discussed the way God uses delays in our life to teach us in three major areas.  God uses delays to prepare us, test us and train us.  Today I want to look at the danger of not fully understanding why we are being faced with a delay.  If you and I are not careful we can fall into the trap of caving into the pressure of a delay, and find ourselves in some major trouble as a result.

When looking at the children of Israel, we can quickly discover four major approaches to the delay they faced.  As a result of each of these, only 2 out of the original million plus, ever made it into the land of promise.  The Israelites made these four major mistakes that cost them their promise.  When faced with delays in our own lives these 4 areas should be something we avoid.

Let's take a closer look:

  1. Don't Fear - This is the first mistake the Israelites made. There are a lot of reasons for the delays that happen in our life but this one is our own fault. God says don't be afraid. They were afraid to go forward at the Red Sea. And they were afraid to enter the Promise land because of the walled cities and the giants.  They had enough faith to move out of Egypt but they didn't have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.
  2. Don't Fret - Fret means worry. Don't get worried. Don't get uptight. We do that when we get into delays. We worry, get uptight, get stressed out. Worry may give you something to do, but it will only cause strength to drain from you.  When you worry you bind the hands that can help you. God responds to faith not fear. Learn to trust God in the delays you face. After all, it is God that is leading you.  God's children began to fret and it cost them dearly!
  3. Don't Faint - When you go through the delays in life, don't faint. Don't get discouraged. Don't lose heart. Don't give up. Don't throw in the proverbial towel.  This is the third thing the Israelites did and it kept them out of the promised land.  Numbers 14 tells us the story: "All the Israelites grumbled against Moses... `If only we had died in Egypt! ... We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt."  They gave up on their dream. They caved in. They had been in slavery 400 years but now because they are having a little bit of delay they want to go back to Egypt. "If only" and "go back" are phrases that are tell-tale signs you're discouraged -- that you're fainting, losing heart.
  4. Don't Forget - Psalms 103: "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits..."  During the delay, time causes us to forget many things. When there is a delay, we tend to forget our dream. We tend to forget what God had done in our life. We tend to forget God's goodness to us in the past. We tend to forget that God is with us. We tend to forget God's power. We tend to forget how important it is that we stay in God's strength and we start focusing on all our problems than on what He has done for us.  We cannot forget all God has done in our lives in order for us to move forward into the promises He has for us.

I trust that as you look at these posts you will begin to see what God has in store for you and how He desires you approach the delays that come into your life.  Remember you have a God that is for you and not against you.

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These two posts were originally written in 2013 and have been updated in their current form

I am a husband, dad, pastor, author and motivational speaker. Born with only one hand, I have spent my life trying to overcome and I am passionate about helping others fulfill their dreams by teaching them the importance of attitude and perspective. I recently released The HandBook: Five Forces To Form Your Future (Insignia Press).