Wait, before you write me off as loopy. Maybe delays don’t have to give you the ‘warm fuzzies’ but please hear me out.
Delays do not have to ruffle our feathers, ruin our day, or change our destiny. Whether you’re waiting for a job, hoping for a spouse, needing to hear from the doctor, or just trying to get through traffic, delays, if allowed, can propel you forward rather than hold you back.
All delays can be frustrating. Just this morning, I was on my way out and the keys went missing (again). I could feel the anxiety build up, my body getting tense, worries fill my mind – and I was only going out to check the mail and get groceries! It hit home that what I had rolling around in my heart to write to you was a real issue. We all deal with delays and the inevitable stress on various levels each day and each season of our lives. Sadly, for most people, stress and discouragement builds up affecting our mental state, our relationships, and even our health.
I want to share the keys taught to me for handling delays with dignity and finding the diamond in detours. Most of my lessons have been in traffic scenarios, I know…not very original. Thankfully, effective though!
My family lives in the country. A bad day in traffic is unusual but normally involves wayward livestock or cumbersome farming equipment. So, we’re not accustomed to delays or detours until we get to town.
My husband considers the traffic lights in our small community his nemesis and avoids them by winding through town on the roads he knows so well. I lived in big cities for many years so I don’t share his aversion to stoplights but I do have a healthy loathing for traffic jams, road construction, and the other highway drama in places like Denver, Houston, and San Antonio.
One weekend our family went to the beach. We left the coast in plenty of time to get back home hours before we had to meet someone at 6 p.m. As we departed, we quickly thanked God for a safe trip home like we normally do. Twenty minutes into the trip, I HAD to use the restroom. I felt bad because my husband wanted to get straight home and we had just left Rockport, but I had to GO. We stopped in a familiar town but ended up at an unfamiliar gas station. I had to wait awhile in line for the facilities. Once done, our younger son decided he wanted a snack but wasn’t sure what he wanted. By now, I could tell the hubby was getting a little perturbed by how long we were taking, but we finally got back on the road.
For about an hour, we traveled unhindered. Then traffic slowed on the Interstate and completely stopped – for HOURS. We were now running very late and it was hard to not be frustrated in the hot, Texas heat that was intensified by the asphalt and running vehicles.
As traffic finally crept forward, we reached the place of the accident. We could tell it was a bad one.
Later that day we found out that a speeding SUV lost control and crossed over the median into heavy oncoming traffic. People tragically lost their lives. It was sobering and made our late arrival seem trivial.
As we learned more about the accident, a chill went down my spine. If my family had not stopped for the restroom break that came on so suddenly – if we hadn’t been delayed in the gas station – we should have been on that particular stretch of the highway around the time of the accident. That mildly irritating stop may have been a divine delay that saved our lives.
After that incident, my husband and I began thinking differently about delays and the things that pop up unexpectedly in life.
How many times are we tapping our feet and shaking our fists at God because something unexpected comes up that detours or delays us? Yet behind the scenes and completely unknown to us, God was actually answering our prayers to keep us safe from harm.
If you’re in a delay or being delayed, I encourage you to take a deep breath and thank God.
Because whether or not the delay was from Him, He is the only One who knows exactly what is going on, how to get through the delay gracefully, and how to make up for any lost time the delay may have caused.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Take the time to be thankful for all the dangers and pitfalls (known & unknown) that He brings you through.
I realize there are other delays – some we cause ourselves, some that are sent to give us time to better prepare for the next season in our lives, and some that are sent by the enemy of our souls to trip us up, distract, or discourage us. I will cover those in the next post – and those are my favorite to encourage people in!
Be encouraged. Take a deep breath and ask God for fresh perspective on the delays in your life.
Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”