We ended up with eight scheduled flights and an unscheduled overnight stay in Chicago. Seven of those eight flights were delayed (on average two hours each), only one of which was weather related. When I told my sister, her response was “Wow! Scary. I wonder what number 2 looks like.”
It wasn’t only scary, it was frustrating and tiring as well. Our travel time increased by a day and multiple hours. It wasn’t fun. Delays of any kind usually aren’t.
But sometimes we can see the good in a delay. Some of us can recall a near miss with an auto accident because of an unexpected delay. What started out as frustration and anger soon turned into relief and thankfulness. Likewise, how many of us have been saved from embarrassment when something or someone kept us from being able to voice our opinion.
Whenever Abraham Lincoln was angry with someone, he would write a letter to the individual, leaving nothing out. Then he would leave it in his desk, come back the next day, and tear it up. Only then would he approach the person. His self-imposed delays often saved many a regrettable word.
Unfortunately, we are just as impatient with God when answers to our prayers are delayed, and we often doubt His involvement or His love. But Lysa Terkeurst in her book Uninvited encourages us to ask ourselves three questions, and if we believe the answer is “yes” to each of these questions, then we should be willing not only to wait but also to accept whatever answer He gives us, when He chooses to give it. The three questions are . . .
Is God good?
Is God good to me?
Can I trust God to be God?
If we can answer all three of these questions in the affirmative, then we should be willing to rest both in God’s timing and His answers. But often even trusting God still doesn’t keep us from being impatient.
If it makes you feel any better, we are in good company. Even David questioned God’s timing as we see in Psalm 6:2-3 when he asks, “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord––How long?”
True, human caused delays can be frustrating and interfere with our plans and may not always work out to our benefit. And yes, it is also hard to wait on God’s timing and answers, especially when we are watching someone suffer or are suffering ourselves. BUT we must remember that God’s delays will always work to our good and are perfectly timed, as ultimately evidenced in what many have perceived as a delay in Christ's second coming: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9