Don't Fear in God's Delays
“Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?” (Deuteronomy 8:2 TLB)
Dreams are never fulfilled immediately. There’s always a waiting period. Abraham had the dream of being the father of a great nation, and he waited 90 years before he was even told he was going to have a son. Noah had the dream of building an ark, but it took him 120 years. The Israelites were brought out of Egypt and then wandered around for 40 years before they went into the Promised Land, yet it’s only about a two-week walk between Egypt and Israel.
Just like the Israelites, sometimes we are delayed by design. God uses delays to prepare us. Every dream has difficulties. God uses delays to get us ready for those difficulties. God knew that if the Israelites went to war unprepared, they wouldn’t be able to handle it, so he knew he needed that time to prepare them for what was ahead.
God also uses delays to test us. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?” (TLB)
So when your dream is delayed, how should you respond?
This is the first mistake the Israelites made. Deuteronomy 1:28 says, “Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are” (GNT). The Israelites had enough faith to move out of Egypt, but they didn’t have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.
The problem with fear is that it keeps you in the wilderness. It prolongs the delay. Many of your dreams have never been fulfilled, not because of God but because of you, because you wouldn’t step out in faith.
The antidote to fear is to focus on God’s presence. Realize that God is with you. When you’re afraid to go after the dream God has given you, you need to focus on God’s presence. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10a TLB). He’s with you now, he always has been, and he always will be.
Some of you are in the delay phase right now. You’ve been praying about something, and it hasn’t happened yet. You may start to think that God has forgotten you.
God has not forgotten you! It is a delay by design. God knows what you’re going through. He wants to build your character, and he wants you to learn to trust in him. You can count on him for his help. Don’t fear.
Talk It Over
- How has God’s testing of your faith produced spiritual growth in your life?
- What are your fears about where God may be leading you or what he may be asking you to do?
- How can you show God that you trust him for today and the future?
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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