Monday, April 4, 2016

Delay Does Not Always Mean Denial

The Hired Hand and I were talking a few days ago about an opportunity that had been discussed with enthusiasm initially, then seemingly dropped by the wayside. 

"It must not have been what God wanted."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that yet. God's delay is not necessarily the same as His denial. Maybe He's working something out." 

We pondered the ways of God for a while, then headed toward the garden, where we can easily see His ways in shades of green.

This morning, I read about Jotham and recalled our conversation.

When Gideon died, he had more than seventy sons. One of his sons, Abimelech, was the son of Gideon's concubine from Shechem. This was a complicated mess, but to sum it up (and vastly simplify it), Gideon's seventy sons judged Israel in Gideon's place. Abimelech, who was illegitimate, was left out and he was mad about it. 

He decided to take matters into his own hands. Abimelech convinced the men of Shechem that he should rule over them. They paid him seventy pieces of silver and he hired a crew of worthless fellows. They all went to Ophrah (Gideon's home) and killed the seventy sons, all except Jotham, who escaped.

Jotham went to the top of a mountain and pronounced a curse against Abimelech and the men of Shechem. "Fire will come out from you to him and him to you." (Leanna Paraphrase)

He hid out in Beer and waited for God to move.

Nothing happened.

He wanted one year, then two. Nothing happened. God didn't move.

He waited three years. It looked as if God wasn't going to avenge his brothers who had been slaughtered. 

After three years of Abimelech's rule over Israel, God abruptly moved against the men of Shechem and against Abimelech. It happened like Jotham had said.

Abimelech's rule came to a screeching halt. He burned the men of Shechem to death. In the midst of battle, a woman threw a millstone down from a tower onto his head and killed him. He was almost dead, but didn't want the dishonor of being killed by a rock-throwing woman, so he convinced his armor-bearer to stab him with a sword (and he did).

The seventy sons were avenged. Abimelech and the men of Shechem were disciplined for their evil ways. 

God moved at just the right time, but it wasn't on Jotham's timetable.

Perhaps you, like me, have had some experience in this area. 

I can't begin to count the times I've thought God would do something specific, waited patiently (or not so patiently), then waited some more. 

Whether He does what I expect or not, the waiting always has a purpose. Sometimes God uses the seeming delay to orchestrate events to work out perfectly. Sometime He uses the delay to refine something in me.

The time is never wasted.

There's a fun part of God's delays, and it's taught me that it's worth it to wait. By the time God moves, I've usually come to the point where I'm content with whatever He decides to do. When He moves, it surprises me and delights me. It's like double joy. First, at the possibility. Second, at the unfolding of the plan. 

Sometimes a delay is simply the anteroom to a divine delight.

I'm in one of those waiting places again. 

Decades of God-delays have prepared me for this place. Whatever my hand finds to do, I'm doing it with all my might. One day, hopefully this side of heaven, we'll see what God has been doing, find out what He has been orchestrating.

Until then, I'll work while I wait, serve while I surrender, pray while I'm patient, and let God refine me while He works out His plan.

Delays are never wasted. Sometimes they're denials, but many times those divine delays are nothing more than the orchestration of a YES that is so dramatically wonderful, it will make all the waiting worth it.

For those of us in God's Waiting Room, let's hold on. His timetable is not the same as ours. Divine delight may be just around the corner.

"But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord a day s like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Leaning to Listen

#divinedelay  #mondaymotivation #delayisnotdenial #linesfromleanna