I have yet to meet a Christian that hasn’t experienced a delay in plans, schedule and dreams. When our hopes are deferred the experience gives rise to a sickening feeling in our hearts.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov 13:12 NIV
On the plus side, a dream come true is a source of life and celebration. Victories cause our spirit to soar and we become bold as lions. So our goal and God’s goal is the same: Minimize delays building the kingdom and our dreams.
Responding to Delays – Kings have an upgraded response to delays compared to many Christians. They don’t accept them! Their response is to find a way around the problem and get going again. This decision to act or accept the delay is a theological issue that we need to focus on.
Most if us have heard of “divine delays.” This view purports that God has sovereignty orchestrated your delay to perfect your patience. The following verses are usually offered as proof texts.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Rom 5:3-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:2-5 NIV
Tribulations, trails and delays do perfect our character “and” they are a fact of life. But, are they all given to us by God? If it’s a “divine delay” we would read these verses, put a fake smile on and wait it out.
I want to suggest that although God can impose delays, he seldom does. Delays are nearly always the result of enemy resistance or simply the normal course of life in a problem filled world. Kings find solutions to delays. The character worked into us by problems is the ability to find solutions – God isn’t trying to teach us to sit on our hands and accept delays. However, the devil would love that response.
Patience (hupomone in the Greek) means continuance. When we hear the word, we normally associate it with doing nothing. However, the real response God is looking for is persistence and creativity. If we lack the wisdom to resolve a delay we’re supposed to ask God for an answer, adjust our tactics, and resolve the problem. Patience isn’t passive. “Standing” is a posture for warfare that occurs “after” we have done all; exercised every option. Patience is very aggressive. Wisdom implies a variety of new tactics while were “exercising patience” and growing in character.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:13 NKJV
“Divine delays” is an oxymoron. God is very seldom postponing the expansion of His Kingdom. He could if He wanted to, but He very seldom does. Divine delays are much more often a by product of our own doctrinal imbalance. It’s time to fix our doctine, mature, and make some progress instead of excuses.
Spiritual Warfare – I don’t want to link every delay to spiritual warfare. However, some delays are clearly the result of enemy resistance. The reason for caution in tagging every delay as spiritual warfare is that we lose the focus on our own response. Intercession is one response, but taking a new initiative after we ask for wisdom is the most likely. Quite often both intercession, wisdom, and action is needed to get past a delay.
But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Dan 10:13-14 NIV
Here’s maturity – Although delays are frustrating and confusing, Kings approach them as a challenge, knowing there is an answer. At the moment, I’m not mature enough to count them all as “pure joy.” However, There seems to be a steady stream of opportunities to develop that level of perseverance “so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” as James instructs.
Your assignment – It’s fun to compare notes with other brothers and sisters in the trenches fighting their own battles. Sharing the victories and struggles is the nature of fellowship among Kings. We each need the encouragement of others sharing similar struggles. We’re inspired by their exploits. Our wisdom and creativity are expanded when God pulls the curtain back on others who have found a breakthrough. In fact, the networking among Kings is very often the source of a solution. Those divine appoints are frequently answers to our delays. Wisdom often shows up in the form of advice from another King!
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.