Delay vs. Denial

Somewhere on the internet, I read the quote, “God’s delay is not necessarily his denial.”

It seemed like the perfect sentiment for a bumper sticker or maybe a tasteful tattoo. But in spite of the obvious aesthetic value of these settings, I wondered what the quote might teach me.

So many Bible verses challenge us to wait while Bible stories seem to underline this principle. “Wait on the Lord. Wait I say on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). King David waited several years and battled for his life until he finally became King of Israel. Hannah, Elizabeth and Sarah waited years for a promised child. Even Jesus waited to fulfill his destiny until God said, “Go.”

Within the closet of my prayer life, I often list requests and then wait for God to do something. But recently, I experienced that time-lapsed delay in reverse.

As a writer, I want my work posted on best-seller lists. The notoriety is only one piece of that desire. Marketing is another. But the most important role that a best-seller plays is that the words God has given me go out into the world. Writing a best-seller is one of the best ways to fulfill the Great Commission. Words travel from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and into all the world – including over the internet waves in cyberspace.

So as a writer, I pray that my words will become best-sellers. I’ve been doing this work professionally for almost 40 years and thought I was still waiting and praying for a best-seller. But God already answered that prayer in reverse and didn’t tell me about it. Recently, I discovered that “A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers” – one of the anthologies that includes my writing –  became a best-seller back in 2007. All this time, I could have been celebrating with chocolate or cheesecake – or worship.

So it is true that God’s delay is not necessarily his denial. In my case – he answered a long time ago – and chose not to tell me. That’s okay. Now, I can pray for the next best-seller.

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