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“The Discipline of Delay!” 1 John 5:13-14 Key verse(s): 14:“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will he hear us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.”

I don’t have time for this now! There is not a day in my life when that phrase, if not passing over my lips, is flitting about my consciousness like a careening moth. The internet is slow. “I don’t have time for this now!” The car won’t start. “I don’t have time for this now!” The dog needs to go out. “I don’t have time for this now!” “Dad, can you help me?” “I don’t . . .”

The internet is slow and you just can’t do the research that you wanted to do. So, there you sit. Eyes fixed on the monitor as that obnoxious “wheel” slowly grinds away. With each little revolution you can feel the heat beginning to rise through the narrow gap between neck and collar. Time is pushing itself past you and you can feel it literally escaping like hot gas. Like Mona Loa, each blurp and hiss of time literally heats the air around you. The eruption is near. Time is about to blast forth, wasted and useless it will lurch into space and there is no way of hanging on to it. It’s on a mission and you’re not booked. What a frustration. The time you had so carefully plotted out to “get something done” has escaped once again. A new allocation of time has appeared from out of nowhere and it isn’t the one you wanted or anticipated. “But, I was in a hurry and I wanted that time. This is no good! I don’t have time for THIS time!”

Everyone is in a hurry these days. Things are carefully planned out and allotted for their timeliness. Christians are no different. There is a “time” for everything. Everything, that is, except the reallocation of that time. That would require great patience and the ability to adapt and multi-task one’s way through life. For many of us, we simply don’t have the time to be delayed. In a hurry? Here’s some good advice from a recent article in Our Daily Bread. “The 19th-century preacher A.B. Simpson: ‘Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and long-suffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now. Yes, each day affords countless opportunities to learn patience. Let’s not waste them.’

God wants us to see results as we work for Him, but His first concern is our growth. That’s why He often withholds success until we have learned patience. The Lord teaches us this needed lesson through the blessed discipline of delay.” (Our Daily Bread)

For me, the worst part of delay is not the work that I don’t get done or the enjoyment that must be put on hold. The worst part of delay is that in the hold of that delay I fail to apply the time it affords me to do something else. Internet down? Why not take a trip over to the encyclopedia. Dog needs to go out? The walk would do me good. The car won’t start? Maybe it was my day to work on the car anyway. It’s not that I don’t have time for THIS now. Rather, it is more often the case that I only have time for what I planned to have time for. Not seeing delay as an opportunity, I can only sink further and further into the depths of despair when I myopically view it only on my terms of value measurement. The fact is, God has His own standard of measurement. It is one that is perfect and it does include delay. When we approach God with the understanding that delay might be involved and patience be employed, new doors of opportunity open up everywhere. When we understand that God has already “taken care of” our time and allotted it according to His perfect will, delay becomes a welcome discipline. It is through that discipline that God will often mold and shape obedience in our lives giving us a better understanding of what time really is. “No time? Think about it. If not now, when?”

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