Hebrews 10:36 Discipline of Delay
Thoughts about Delay
For my next “thoughts,” I will comment on the role of delay in our lives. As believers in Christ, we often pray with faith for particular results. At times God swiftly gives us affirmative answers. However, there are other times when there is a significant delay before God grants us the desires of our hearts.
In his book “The Disciplines of Life” V. Raymond Edman writes about the discipline of delay. Edman says:
“Delay, with its apparent destruction of all hope, can be a deep discipline to the soul that would serve the Lord Jesus. We live in a restless, impatient day. We have little time for preparation and less for meditation or worship. We feel we must be active, energetic, enthusiastic, and humanly effective; and we cannot understand why inactivity, weakness, weariness, and seeming uselessness should become our lot. It all appears to be so futile and foolish, without plan or purpose.”
“Paul came to know the patience of hindered purpose. Stopped at the gate of Damascus, penitent in the street called Straight, seeing under the touch of Ananias and filled with the Spirit he was a chosen vessel to bear the gospel to great and small. ‘Straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God’ (Acts 9:20). Then came the discipline of delay in the desert of Arabia where he learned by the revelation of God, not by the precept of man, the glorious gospel of the grace of God. From Arabia he would go to Antioch and its worldwide missionary program, to Athens and its proud Areopagus, to Achaia and its wicked Corinth, to the arena of Ephesus, and if necessary to Rome. The delay that instructs and prepares saves time, and never loses it. From it, one can walk with a step of assurance and a heart of flame.”
Most of us, if not all, have experienced delays in our Christian experience. Some of those delays are short; others may stretch into years. We simply have to put our trust fully in God.
More Thoughts about Delay
Very often, all of us have experienced times of delay. Even though we pray with great faith, God does not always answer us right away. In my last thoughts, I included comments by V. Raymond Edman on this topic. We continue with this subject today.
We experience trials and tests of all kinds. Although our salvation is free, and we are wonderfully blessed, we are often tested. This applies to our ministries as well as to our personal life. God may answer us in a different way than we expect, but He always answers on His own timetable. Meanwhile, we may be tested in various ways. Edman illustrates this truth from the life of Hudson Taylor. Edman writes:
“Hudson Taylor knew the testing that tempers the steel of the soul. Invalided, home at twenty-nine after six years of intensive service in China, he settled with his little family in the east end of London. Outside interests lessened; friends began to forget; and five long-hidden years were spent in the dreary street of a poor part of London, where the Taylors were ‘shut up to prayer and patience.’ From the record of those years, it has been written, ‘Yet, without those hidden years, with all their growth and testing, how could the vision and enthusiast of youth have been matured for the leadership that was to be?’ . . . As the years of obscurity progressed, ‘prayer was the only way by which the burdened heart could obtain any relief’; and when the discipline was complete, there emerged the China Inland Mission, at first only a tiny root, but destined of God to fill the land of China with gospel fruit.”
When moments of testing and delay come our way, we must continue to have full trust in our Lord. In His time and in His way, God will answer our prayers. We will know that He has answered our prayers. We will experience the joy of great victory.
More Thoughts on Delay
We have discussed the discipline of delay and the fact that we all are confronted with trials and tests. Today, we will focus on the truth that we sometimes have to endure many things while we are waiting for the will of God to unfold.
The writer of Hebrews says (10:36): “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” This verse contains several important thoughts. First, we as believers must do the will of God. Our constant prayer should be, “Lord help me to know your will. Help me to do your will.” While we are thus praying and acting, we must endure whatever comes our way. When we endure, we will receive “what was promised.”
The promises of God are many. They have to do with all aspects of our lives. The greatest promise, of course, concerns Jesus Christ, His saving work, and His ultimate victory. All the other promises are fulfilled in and through Him. Through His redemptive work, the promises apply to us who believe. Knowing this, we put our trust fully in Him.
George M. Flattery, Ed.D., is the founder of Global University and Network211.