I was at the end of seven weeks of ministry travel and, believe me, I was really anxious to be home. Delays, of course, are just a part of air travel and I’m used to them, and I’m usually patient with them. But when they announced that the very last leg of my journey home was going to be significantly delayed, that was a test of my patience. Every half hour, they would tell us that they would get another update in another half hour. I knew the plane was there, the crew was there, all those passengers were sure there, but the flight just kept getting postponed. My homing instinct was going crazy.
When we were finally boarded and about to take off, the pilot explained what had been taking so long. He said, “Just before we were going to board you, our mechanics found a problem with two of our tires in a routine maintenance check. We had to replace both tires.” Hmm…well, I have actually been on a plane that blew a tire on takeoff one time – a potentially life-threatening situation. So all of a sudden I was surprisingly grateful for the delay that had been so frustrating.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Happy Delays.”
Now, there was a very good reason for that particular airline delay. I have to tell you, the airlines don’t always have a good reason for their delays, but God always does.
The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk had been waiting a long time, by his reckoning anyway, for God to come through with an answer to his impassioned prayers. Our word for today from the Word of God is the word that God gave to his prophet in that situation and maybe to you right now. In Habakkuk 2:3, the Lord says, “The revelation awaits an appointed time…Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk, like us, thought God was already delaying his answer. But God was saying, “It’s not time until it’s My time, Habakkuk. That’s the right time. And it won’t be a minute late when it’s time. So cooleth your jets even if your flight is delayed considerably longer. It will certainly come, and it will come right on time.”
That day when our flight was delayed due to replacing some faulty tires, I couldn’t help but reflect on the ways of God over and over in my life. How often has He seemed to be taking forever, delaying the answer I’d been praying for. But in every situation, without exception, there was always a good reason for what seemed like a delay. And, like those mechanics whose work delayed my flight, God isn’t always taking time to make it better for us. He’s getting a perfect answer ready for you…He’s getting you ready for the answer…He’s doing it in the time and the way that will most amaze you and those around you. He’s doing it in the way it will give Him the greatest glory and you the greatest good. And in the time and the way that will best help you become more like His Son, Jesus.
I told the staff member who was traveling with me on the day of the tire delays, “Do you know what we were just experiencing? That is the answer to all those prayers for our safety that people pray for us every day.” (By the way, if you happen to be one of those, thank you, thank you, thank you!) They were praying, and God responded to their prayers by getting bad tires changed on our plane. That’s pretty cool!
I can’t begin to see all the incredible purposes of God, the unexplainable ways of God, but I can begin to settle down and trust that any delay – that every delay is for my good and for His glory. And when I finally do see some of His reasons for the delay, I will be so grateful that He took His time!