The Beauty of Delay
· Make (someone or something) late or slow.
· A period of time by which something is late or postponed.
Many times delay in the unfilled spaces of our lives causes us discomfort. I will be the first to admit that patience does not come naturally to me. It is a discipline that takes work for most people. The development of technology undoubtedly hasn’t helped in this area. Almost everything we do can be done quickly through our smartphones, so frustration usually ensues when there is a delay. We often forget that we aren’t in control of most things even though we try to be and constantly worry when faced with the truth that we aren’t. Waiting is hard. My husband still occasionally reminds me of when I expressed displeasure about waiting on the Lord early in our marriage. Typically, we see delay or waiting as negative. So many times, we want a yes or no answer, and in that awkward waiting in between, we grow impatient. However, God-given treasures can be found in this space if we only slow down and embrace them. Here are a few.
Repentance: 2 Peter 3:9 - 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. Because of our sins, we are separated from God. However, Jesus’ work on the cross provides a way for us to be reconciled to God. We aren’t guaranteed time because our days are numbered. The delay within these numbered days is a gift to those who do not have a relationship with Christ. For those who do, it is a gift to tell others.
Forgiveness: In a world where everyone lives through the lenses of their own expectations, there will always be occasions to forgive those who have offended us and ask for forgiveness from those we know we have offended. To live in a posture of forgiveness is a choice. God bent my heart towards this truth in my early twenties. A person I was close to sought me out in college, and within the conversation, there was an opportunity for me to forgive an offense against me that genuinely caused me brokenness. It was an unexpected gift from God. One that I didn’t understand until months later when I was attending the funeral of this friend. This experience taught me the importance of asking and offering forgiveness quickly, not waiting until it is too late.
Opportunity: Recognizing purpose in delay requires action on our part, trusting God with the moment He has provided, whether it is repentance, forgiveness, or another opportunity. We tend to use this time carelessly, worrying or complaining, instead of looking outward to the endless possibilities God has graciously given us. So, when we find ourselves in a delay, instead of seeing it as a negative, maybe we can try to change our perspective and recognize what it could be:
one more hug
one more laugh
one more kiss
one more glance at your spouse
one more conversation with a friend
encouraging conversations with others
opportunities to listen intently
opportunities to seek the Lord
opportunities to see the Lord work
hope, faith, love
opportunities for prayer
reliance on God
an answered prayer
a meal with family
opportunities to express kindness
opportunities to love unconditionally
a last dance
trust in God
opportunities to grow in wisdom
opportunities to listen to instruction
a second chance
a new friendship
a better decision
the wind in your hair
the sun on your face
the beauty of creation
and many more.
There is good to be found in the waiting and the delay. Delay is time, and it is precious. It is one more hour, one more minute, or one more second that is a gift given to us, and we can miss it if we aren’t careful.