Dealing with Delay
Alison writes about our approach to dealing with delay. How have you coped during the last two years?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13 v12
Definition of Delay
To defer something means to put off to a later time or postpone, but I don’t know about you but when I’m hoping for something, I don’t want to put it off for later. I want it now. Anyone relate? Delay is incredibly frustrating especially if you want or need, quick answers. In The Message paraphrase, it talks about delay as ‘unrelenting disappointment that leaves you heartsick’. To avoid the outcome of unrelenting disappointment we will need to see what God wants to teach us about the process of dealing with delay.
The onslaught of relentless delay
These last couple of years have been characterised by delay, and what’s been exasperating is that it’s been the kind of delay that we’ve had no control over, that has touched every area of our lives. Experiencing this kind of relentless delay can leave you feeling desperate, frustrated and maybe even hopeless. We make plans and at a moment’s notice they change and change again. It can quickly result in disappointment and can lead to our hearts feeling crushed or as the proverb quotes, ‘sick.’
We’ve faced an incredible onslaught of things that are contrary to being ‘hope filled’ and I’m sure we can all rattle off a long list of things that we’ve had to pause, postpone, or are even still waiting for. Holidays, seeing family, planning weddings are but a few to mention.
And then there’s the kind of delay that involves living with uncertain outcomes, that are perhaps health related. We’ve had several friends, describe to us the emotional toll of living in what feels like an endless state of waiting and hoping, praying for a miraculous intervention, facing every day with no certainty that clarity will come.
This is where I feel we must let the reality of this proverb sink deep into our hearts, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” We must be open with God about how we are feeling, our crushed hopes, our disappointments and allow God to come and meet with us. Allow Him to work on our hearts so that despite the outcome we can know that He is with us. Be open with Him. it’s the first step to dealing with disappointment.
Taking your hands off control
For me personally, I’ve often found it hard to stay positive and ‘hope filled.’ Balancing verses that talk about waiting “patiently for the Lord” (Psalm 27 v 14) are often difficult verses to hold onto, when you already have a sense of how you want things to play out. So, how do we cast all our cares on God and trust Him to walk with us through seasons of delay? Coming to a place where we take our hands off and acknowledge that He has the final say is key to the process of finding God… in the waiting.
How we approach the process affects the outcome
During these times of delay, we have a choice where we can either lean into God and cling onto Him and trust Him or see our hearts become heart sick, crushed, disappointed and bitter. In the waiting, we can fix our eyes on Him and keep declaring truth and His promises over our lives, that “His plans are for our good, to prosper us and not to harm us.” (Jeremiah 29 v 11) That “ALL things work together for the good to them that love God.” (Romans 8 v28) even when we have no idea of the result.
For me, ‘Dealing with delay’ means submitting to God and His will, calling on Him to intervene and make a way that is His way and taking my hands off controlling the outcome. It involves trusting Him with timing and being ruthless in dealing with disappointment to protect my heart from becoming sick or bitter. It involves knowing a huge deposit of His peace and His presence. It involves choosing to allow God to work on my heart and grow faith in me despite the uncertainties of the waiting process. It involves looking to God with hope because His timing is always perfect. It allows the waiting to be productive. So, take courage my soul… ‘He’s in the waiting. ’
Take Courage (He’s in the waiting)
Thank you Alison