Many of you have heard or perhaps used the phrase "A Delay is Not a Denial." I know I have! But what does that mean? The first time it resonated with my Spirit is when my pastor said it during one of our many heart-to-heart conversations. I was in seminary working on my Master of Divinity at the time, and she was my mentor for Field Education. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Field Education is a required course where a young seminarian is assigned to a church congregation to serve alongside the pastor and learn what it means to connect with God's people more intimately.
During one feedback session, I became disheartened by the slowness in which I felt God was moving on my behalf concerning ministry and service and deeply personal issues. I'm sure many of you can relate to me! In a soft and nurturing voice, my pastor said to me that GOD'S TIMING IS PERFECT. And a Delay is Not a Denial. She lovingly said, "Sebrenna, what God has for you is for you." Well... at the time, it sounded like a cliché – like one of the many platitudes that God's children say to one another during difficult seasons. You know what I mean – Trouble does not last always. Or Joy cometh in the morning. Or how about this one... He may not come when you want him to, but he is always right on time! Either we said it or heard it! How did it make you feel as you waited for your grief to subside or the abuse to stop or the next paycheck to come? Nevertheless, when she said that my situation was only delayed and not denied, it resonated with me differently back then than it does today.
Can we explore an alternate view? Wait is Not Denial.
The Bible teaches us that: "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." 2nd Peter 3:9 CSB.
As I studied this text, that ole' cliché came back to my memory. Is this the same? Could this be the justification scripture that one uses to forego the nearness of God's promises?
Let me be clear, the word 'delay' means, if He says I will give you something at midnight, and you received it at 12:05 pm, then you can say there was a 5-minute delay. However, God will NEVER say midnight and come at 11:59 am or 12:01 pm, not a second earlier or late. When the God that I serve says 12:00 pm, you can best believe it IS 12:00 pm! God is the PERFECT supreme being. He is not a man that forgets or makes a mistake. Beloved, understand that God responds to us in one of three ways -
*God says - yes, you can have it at THIS specified time.
*God says - no, you DO NOT need this.
*God says - yes but WAIT. I will not give you the time because I am strengthening your patients and trust in me.
If You Believe the Word is real and that God's promises are NOT delayed as some understand delay, I want you to take comfort in knowing that what God has promised YOU, according to His riches and glory, Will Come To Pass In His Perfect time.
If there seems to be a delay, and God is telling you to wait, it is not because God is unfaithful to his promise. And it is not as elementary as a delay is not a denial. It is because God is patient with us. He purposely extends the time of grace so that everyone might have the opportunity to come in alignment with his word, hear his voice, and be saved.
Say Your Name!