Delays are normal in my neighborhood. Almost daily I watch as the crew from the local Council comes to continue repairs on the drainage ditch outside my house. It was supposed to be a two-day job, but due to concerns up near Council chambers (another hole in the street), our boys were required up there. OK, that happens. Job postponed.
The photo I took the other day of the hamper project is all about your being able to buy things now, but not really. You set aside funds weekly, and they keep your layby (US folks read: Lay away) materials until needed later, hopefully you will have paid it off by Christmas for giving then. Sensible delaying.
Winston Churchill said, “Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.” That quote can keep me going for days!
Sometimes delays are useful or imposed or granted or required. Sometimes they are annoying, as in peak hour traffic conditions when I need to be somewhere faster on the other end.
The Hebrew word for delay in the Bible is "Achar" and can also have to do with behind or after. As in stay late or linger. Not in the loiter sense, but in the remain sense. I like that. That sounds like a choice the lingerer makes. True, often delays happen to us, but sometimes we delay in doing or saying or thinking things.
For instance, the biblical command is “You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me." (Exodus 22.29) OK, it's yours, but God says, "bring it to me." And tells you when to do it. Not 'whenever' but 'at the appointed time.'
Similarly in Deuteronomy (before it was a Broadway cat, it was a Bible book), we read, "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you." (Chapter 23. verse 21) OK, timing is not everything, but it is a thing!
King David had this aching and persistent problem and prayed to God as it is recorded in Psalm 70. "But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay." (verse 5). So we are asking with David for God's intervention. Do not delay.
Does that mean "Now!" Usually. We as people are fairly demanding of our deity. We expect Him to operate in our time schedule. We expect instant results and delays and postponements are unacceptable, especially if they are a regular occurrence.
Today on Capitol Hill in the Washington, DC, Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, was called to testify in the BenGhazi affair. And the committee wanted to know why she delayed in affording proper protection for the staff of the embassy. We simply do not appreciate delay.
But God's timing is not our timing. "At the right time" is not "at my time." For some reasons He delayed in saving my people from slavery in Egypt UNTIL he got to it in the time of Moses. For some reasons He delayed in sparing us in the times of the Crusades and Inquisition and pogroms UNTIL he got to it.
He does get to it.
He does save us.
He does it in His time.
His time is not our time.
His time is always right.
I don't always think His time is right.
I'm often wrong.
Faith is this, it's confidence in the God who acts according to His purposes and for His glory. I trust Him. He will make us look like Him. He will make us think and act and love like Him. Until that day we wait. And pray. And believe.
I recommend you do the same. Today.