Delay has more to do with life than with death.
Death stops the clock; delay winds it. Death and delay are not even casual acquaintances, much less intimate friends.

However, delay can feel like death and disaster, calamity and crisis. When the answer to prayer is delayed in its arrival, we feel the need to pace, to panic, and to pursue “Plan B.” We must fill the deep hole delay digs in our schedule—we have to do something!

Something, but not just anything.

A great temptation is to worry.
Worry requires the same mental skills as faith:

  • Constant rehearsal of the problem, in words with wringing hands during the day and in coded imagery in the night,
  • Relentless planning for contingencies that might occur, and
  • Repeated visualizations of the disaster looming before us.

While the answer is on the way, we can employ these imaginations in a positive way:

  • Constant rehearsals of the promises of God, in prayer during the day and in safety through the night,
  • Relentless rest, listening for the still, small voice of the Spirit giving comfort and direction for what will occur, and,
  • Joyous visualizations of the moment of release, of victory, of the moment when we realize the pain is gone.

Delay can make us stronger if we let it.

Meanwhile, a different drama is playing out on a stage we cannot see.
In the spirit world things beyond our imagination are happening while we are waiting out the delay. The Holy Spirit is at work in the hearts of those who are part of the answer. When they are ready, the answer will come. Angels are on assignment to guard us and restrain the opposition to our progress. We can’t see them but we know they are stationed nearby with flaming swords and binding chains.

With unseen hearts prepared and opposing forces restrained and rebuked, soon the waiting will be over. Delay will become delight. Disaster itself will be destroyed. Provisions will arrive in packages of grace.

Until then we will sing with the Psalmist, “Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God.”

Psalm 42:11 NIV
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 70:1-72:1
Hasten, O God, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me. May those who seek my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” turn back because of their shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!” Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
Psalm 71 NIV
In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you….Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. .. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. … My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you — whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

Lord Jesus, hope rises in me even as the clock keeps ticking and Your answer to the cry of my heart lingers just out of reach. I will hope in You. I will confess Your promises. I will rehearse the revelation of Your faithfulness. Your very name, Lord Jesus, is “Faithful and True.” I will not fear what man can do to me. Use this time of delay, O Lord, to make me stronger. When the answer comes, I will rejoice even if it is not the answer I hope for. That is simply another way to trust You. I will say to my soul, “Why be downcast? Put your hope in God. Amen.

Who So Downcast, O My Soul
Words and Music: Marty Nystrom

Why so downcast, oh my soul?
Put your hope in God Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God
Oh, why so downcast, oh my soul?
Put your hope in God
And bless the Lord, oh my soul.

Bless the Lord–He’s the lifer of my countenance.
Bless the Lord–He’s the lifter of my head;
Bless the Lord–He’s the lifter of my countenance
I will never be ashamed.

Why so downcast, oh my soul?
Put your hope in God Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God
Oh, why so downcast, oh my soul?
Put your hope in God
And bless the Lord, oh my soul.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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