Practical Delays

We are currently taking a look at some of the reasons it often feels like we are wandering in the wilderness of our personal dreams. Yesterday we saw that God often delays fulfillment for our own protection. There are battles we will have to face on our journey. Battles that we need to be emotionally, and spiritually ready for. Today we will look at another reason our dreams do not come to pass overnight.

For the last two years I have been a volunteer leader in our churches’ youth ministry. I confess it is not what I would call my “sweet spot”. I have always been involved in women’s ministry and switching over to youth has been a big change for me. The blank stares, eye rolls, and texting while I speak is new to me. I think one of the reasons God has me there is to work out any pride or insecurity I have about speaking, as there is nothing like 150 teenagers to bring out every insecurity. Despite not being in my comfort zone I have loved (for the most part) being a part of this group.

I especially love the youth pastor, his amazing wife, and their sweetest two boys. If God put me on the youth team for no other reason than to get to know them, it is worth it! They have passion, excitement, and a heart for God that draws you to them. While fasting last year, the Lord spoke to JD’s heart and gave him a vision of having 250 students by the end of the 2018 school year. At the time we were at about 130. To double a ministry in eighteen months is unheard of. There is no way we could do it on our own. However, when God puts something in your heart it means you will not be doing it on your own. He has already made a way for us. Our job is to continue to walk by faith, spend time in prayer and in his Word, and seek his wisdom. It’s that easy…

Ok so maybe it is not that EASY. Hearing a dream or vision from God (and by vision I do not mean a trance like vision, I simply mean where you know as you know God is speaking to your heart) is very exciting at first. It is exciting to share with others close to you. It is exciting to day dream about. It is exciting to pray about. It is exciting to talk about.

Then slowly the excitement fades. The desire is still there but as time passes on little things start to chip away at the excitement that was there in the beginning. Little things like when people that said they were all in suddenly can’t be found, or people respond to you in such a way that lets you know they think your vision is “nice” but not really believing it. And then the doubt tries to creep in making you wonder if you really heard from God or if you just made it up in your pizza deprived state of fasting. The worst part- waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Until you get the “next step” from the Lord.

It’s really the waiting that is the hardest part. It is during the waiting that all the battles come our way. It is in the waiting that we are tempted with doubt, fatigue, distractions, loneliness, and discouragement. It happens to everyone. I have never heard anyone say “My favorite part about the fulfillment of my dreams or achieving my goals is the waiting. I wish I could wait a little longer.”

Sure, they may say that AFTER they reach their dreams because AFTER you get there you can look back and see how God was with you the whole time and why certain things had to happen the way they did. However, rarely do we get to see or understand them during the wait.

That is why we need to spend time with God in his Word and in prayer. When we spend time in his Word we see that there are reasons for the delays. Some delays are for protection and some delays are for very practical reasons. Take today’s verses for example. They are found in Exodus 23:29-30. God is telling the Israelites how and when to take their Promised Land. “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land”.

God promised to drive out all of their enemies, but He had a specific plan and a purpose to His plan, and they needed to trust that plan. You might think they had it easy because they knew the plan and purpose. However, just nine chapters later the Israelites are worshipping a golden calf because they got sick of waiting for Moses to come down the mountain from his time with God. Waiting isn’t easy for anyone!

I sent those two verses to JD our youth pastor. I thought it was fitting for us as we seek God this summer for His plan to grow our youth group. It is a perfect reminder that if we feel there is a delay to the progress, it is simply because God does not want us leaders to be overtaken by the animals 🙂

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your perfect timing. Thank you for working in ways that I cannot see. I ask you to give me the gift of faith while I wait for you to speak my next step into my heart. Thank you for your protection. Thank you for your wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love, Grace, and a Practical Delay,

Jen

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