Delays, Delays, Delays!

by Lester Young

Have you ever received a word from the Lord about something, but He neglected to give you any kind of timetable for its fulfillment? Yeah, me too. But now that I think about it, to the best of my knowledge, that’s almost always how those packages arrive.  You’ll get the Word and initially it’s quite exciting, just like Mark 4:16 describes.  You receive it with joy and gladness.  Then, in the middle of praising and thanking the Lord, you decide to ask Him just when whatever it is you’re believing for will actually happen.  And guess what………… (dramatic pause)………….. you get absolutely no reply to that inquiry – whatsoever.  Nevertheless, you know you’ve heard from the Lord, so you strike out in faith, believing that you’ve received (Mark 11:24).

And you’re waiting. A week goes by. Then a couple more. Now several months have passed and you see absolutely no change in that situation at all. No, that’s not really true; for upon closer inspection, you notice that it’s actually gotten… worse! What do you do? Unfortunately, all too often, we as Christians just meekly accept defeat and let the thing we’ve hoped for quietly slip away from our minds; or we devise some kind of way to deal with the problem ourselves.

What we usually fail to grasp is that pure faith isn’t tied to timetables or deadlines. Remember Jesus’ friend Lazarus? After he’d died, his sisters Mary and Martha lost all hope that he could be restored to health (John 11:21, 24, 32). In their minds, the ‘point-of-no-return’ (that is, his death) had been reached. But the Lord knew better. And how about Jairus’ daughter: she died while they were en route to help her. People came from the house to inform the father not to bother the Master any further because, again, the ‘dead-line’ had passed. Nevertheless, Jesus told him to not be afraid but just keep on believing, and his daughter would be completely healed (Luke 8:49-50).

The point here is that just because things don’t work out according to your personal script or timetable, that’s no reason to move off your faith, especially if you’ve already got His Word on the outcome. Remember, Abraham waited at least fifteen years from the day God declared it until his promised son Isaiah was born (Genesis 12:4; 15:4; 16:3-4, 16; 17:21; 21:5). And the fig tree that Jesus cursed in the morning showed no apparent signs of change for at least twelve hours afterward (Mark 11:14). They passed by it again that evening on the way back to Bethany, and no one noticed any difference in it. But the next morning the tree was shriveled up from its roots (Mark 11:19-20). So somewhere between twelve- and twenty-four hours after ‘cursing,’ the effects became visible. Before that, nothing out of the ordinary could be seen.

Jesus’ faith went to work immediately on the most crucial part of that tree’s existence – its roots – even though the work it was accomplishing couldn’t yet be perceived by the natural eye. And our faith works no differently than Jesus’; it’s all been given by God (Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:13). Know that as soon as you plant an apple seed in the ground, the apple factory inside it comes to life. But the consumer-ready product won’t be available for a number of months (or even years), right? In fact, you wouldn’t know the shop had even opened for business just by looking at the spot where you planted it – not for awhile, anyway. Nevertheless, things are happening – important, necessary things that must occur first before the company can put its full apple-assembly line into operation.

So if you find yourself waiting – and waiting… aaannnd waiting – for a promise of God to be fulfilled, don’t fret. Seedtime-and-harvest is simply “the way it is.” (You can appropriately diagram that phrase this way: seed-time-harvest.) It’s how the entire Kingdom of God operates: it starts with a seed and grows into fruit (Mark 4:13). Don’t even consider throwing your faith away. Instead, hook up some patience to it (Hebrews 6:12, 10:35-36).  Then, put on some overalls, Farmer Jim, and take care of your ground and your crop (in other words, keep the ‘weeds’ out) until that bumper harvest appears – because you’ve got His Word on it! (Matthew 13:19-23; Mark 4:14-20)


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2 Comments to “Delays, Delays, Delays!”

  1. Accurate description of how God works in our situations. Now 63…I’ve had numerous experiences over the years where God showed me visions of things to come (a picture is truly worth a 100 words)…and they generally came 15-20 years later….just as I had seen. Some are yet to come. And …because of the length of time…because of the sure outcomes….I have finally ‘learned’ that Faith…like agape love…is a condiiton of the heart which allows one to TRUST God……to TRUST His timetable. There are situations with close family which need healing from God. My heart prays without ceasing saying…’thy will be done.’ I KNOW (Faith) that God’s ways are not our ways. I KNOW that He alone knows hearts…and can work where none can hinder. I KNOW He loves these people deeply….that His work is INTERNAL more than external….as you described the tree. The Bible record reminds of the times He healed and asked the recipient ‘tell no man.’ The ‘ The ‘situations’ I mentioned involve deeply engrained generational character flaws which, apart from God’s healing and direction, cannot change. I have given those things to His complete care. And, in that ‘giving’ and ‘trusting’….is the knowledge that if healing does not come…it will only be because those involved rejected His healing hand. If that be the case…I also TRUST in God’s justice.

    Again, good description of how God works….and of faith.


    • Thank you so much for your remarks, Carolyn. They blessed me and I know they’ll bless others also. Keep on believing God’s Word, and you will keep on receiving…

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