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Thursday, May 21, 2015

God Can Delay Dreams by Design

In review of Deuteronomy 8:2 it says, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?”

Bottom Line:
Don’t forget how the Lord has guided you in the past, sending difficulties your way to see how you would respond and whether you would really obey his commands.

What this means to me:
God has brought all of my past experiences, difficulties and situations around to train me and test to see how I would respond. He is interested in building my character and to see if I would endure, and ultimately choose to obey his commands regardless of the situation.

It’s really rare that any dream would ever be fulfilled immediately. Generally there’s always a waiting period. God’s Word points out how Abraham had the dream of being the father of a great nation, and he ended up waiting 90 years before he was even told he was going to have a son. Noah had the dream of building an ark, however it took him 120 years. The Israelites were brought out of Egypt and then wandered around for 40 years before they went into the Promised Land, interestingly enough the actual distance on foot between Egypt and Israel was about a two-week walk.

Just like the case of the Israelites, delay is often by design. What I’m learning is that God uses delays to prepare me. Almost every dream has difficulties. However God uses the delays to get me ready for those difficulties. God knew that if the Israelites went to war unprepared, they wouldn’t be able to handle it, so he knew he needed that time to prepare them for what was ahead.

God also uses delays to test me. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?” (TLB)

So when a dream of mine is delayed, I should not fear. Fear was the first mistake the Israelites made. Deuteronomy 1:28 says, “Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are” (GNT). Seems the Israelites had enough faith to move out of Egypt, but they didn’t have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.

The problem with fear is that it will keep me in the wilderness. It ends up prolonging the delay. I may have had dreams there were been fulfilled, this was likely not because of God, but because of myself; because I wouldn’t step out in faith when I needed to.

The antidote to this fear is to focus on God’s presence. I should realize that God is with me. When I’m afraid to go after the dream God has given me, I need to focus on God’s presence. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10a TLB). He’s with me now, he always has been, and he always will be.

So when I experience a delay, God has not forgotten me. It is likely a delay by design. And God knows what I’m going through. He wants to build my character, and he wants me to learn to trust in him. So I can count on him for his help, so I shouldn’t fear.

As I reflect back, I can see where God has not wasted any experience or situation in my life. Even though they are painful, they have delayed me in order to prepare me, they have helped me become better prepared or have a better understanding so that I can handle it better. I think the best way for me to show God that I trust him with the details and situations of my life is to trust that he will always do what’s best for me and for me to be obedient regardless of the lack of progress or when it seems nothing it happening or going to take place.

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