Delight in the Delay
Many of us have recently experienced moments which challenge our patience and our “Christian expression” as observed by others. Because of the pandemic, which the whole world is learning to navigate, everyone, to some extent, has been inconvenienced by the unseen enemy. Learning to adjust to the many types of daily delays has become a regular part of doing life. One of the famous sayings in the military is “hurry up and wait,“ which means you will go full tilt to get to a location, and then once you’re there, you end up waiting for hours until it’s your turn. The overwhelming majority of us have experienced a traffic delay, which can cause a nice person to explode into a fit of rage. Let’s be honest - all of us, at some level, are impatient when our plans get delayed. Just recently, Janet and I were running some errands in the Twin Ports, and three times on the same day I had to control my attitude because I was becoming frustrated with the drivers in front of me. Once at a gas station, once at a signal light, and another time someone driving down the road not paying attention. Just think about it, I lost 60 seconds of time that I’ll never recover. How tragic! Possibly those 60 seconds had some level of eternal significance. If so, I’ll never know; I missed it because of my poor attitude. Here is an old example from my life, but it fits perfectly for our current struggles. My level of air travel is limited, compared to others who travel on a frequent basis, yet I have learned many valuable lessons while hanging out at a gate. Most travelers are good-natured when dealing with the dreaded arrival or departure “delay“. Delay is something every passenger WILL experience at some time, if you choose to travel up in the friendly skies. On a recent air travel delay, I missed my connecting flight by 15 seconds, and ended up waiting four hours for the next plane. Amazingly, I had an opportunity to sit, grab a meal, and spend two hours talking with someone about the Kingdom of God. There was a delight in the delay, because my heart was in the right place. PSALM 37:4 states “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ESV. How many times in the last 30 days have each of us missed our chance to “delight in the delay”? For me, there were at least three times last week where I missed out on the opportunity. So you might be asking, “What can I do to change my behavior, my natural response, my tendency to be impatient? How do I overcome these human tendencies?” Scripture tells us: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV. Part of our Christian maturity is becoming aware of how we react to anything and everything. We cannot blame others for our reactions. Too many Christians say, “Well, if so-and-so hadn’t done this I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did.” Bad Answer! Scripture also tells us: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV. Consider the following: many drivers choose not to drive over the speed limit because they don’t want to get caught speeding. This is not a good reason or attitude upon which to base your driving habits. Rather, you should delight in following the law, just as you should delight in any circumstance that comes your way. Choose to delight yourself in the Lord, no matter what the delay might be!