Difficulty of Delay

I paid the price for procrastination this week.  The dryer top had become a temporary catch-all, a mix of things I put off putting in their proper place.  When I carelessly shifted things, a candle and pottery saucer fell and shattered.

I consider my procrastination a character flaw.  But sometimes I choose to delay for a good reason.  Sometimes delay has nothing to do with procrastination, but with GLORY.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:5)

When I read this it stops my breath.  Lazarus is seriously ill.  His sisters send word to Jesus.  Hurry!  The one you love is ill.  Jesus gets the desperate call, the call we all dread.  Jesus loves Martha, Mary and Lazarus.  We know Jesus loves us all, but the Bible says specifically that Jesus loves them.

I read John 11:5 again.  So, what does “So” mean?  Jesus LOVES them, SO he delays?

I’ve been thinking about DELAY lately.  When God delays it strains our faith and leaves us vulnerable, often drenched in fear and charged with impatience.  We question His love, His wisdom.  But mostly His love.  Does God see, does He know, does He care?

Sadly, when we face DELAY we often sin.

The people sinned when Moses delayed on the mountain.  “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us” (Exodus 32:1).  And Aaron makes a golden calf.

Later, Samuel delays and Saul offers the sacrifice that only the priest may make (1 Samuel 13:8-15).  Samuel delays and Saul sins.

Delay can drain our God-confidence or stampede us into sinful action.

My thoughts return to Mary and Martha.  Jesus arrives four days after the sisters’ urgent request.  How painful the delay was to these women (John 11:17-44).  They struggled with Jesus’ slowness because they did not yet know that the delay was for GLORY.  “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).

Jesus said to his disciples, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:14).

Jesus said to [Martha], “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

Just now, I’m feeling the pinch of God’s delay in dear friends’ lives.  Will I wait in trust and hope?  Will I trust that God loves them so much that he delays to show them His glory? By His grace, I will.

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4 thoughts on “Difficulty of Delay

  1. Hi Jean, you don’t know me, but I am one of the ones you wrote this for! What to do in the time of delay? Practice trusting God, be careful of temptations to sin, draw near to him in praise. Thank you so much for perspective writing!
    We are awaiting a new assignment, new place to live, anything! Move out date is June 30, if not before. That’s all I know, so far!

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  2. Those who are waiting are refreshed and challenged by your words. May our words bring glory to God as we wait with them. Thanks, my friend! j

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  3. This has so blessed and encouraged my heart! I was out walking and praying this morning and saw a moving van in front of a house that’s been for sale many months. The owners are moving without it having sold. This is a fear I’m wrestling with as our house is for sale and the moving date draws closer each day! What a wonderful reminder – because God loves me He’s allowing this delay. Smiling as I type this with a very happy heart. My circumstances are still the same but now fear has been transformed into feeling well loved! Thank you so much!

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