March 26, 2020
Is This a Delay or a Dead End?
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"When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.'" Exodus 32:1 (NIV)
Have you ever felt God calling you to step out in faith, only to find yourself wondering if you heard Him wrong?
For many years, I thought my calling to write was a dead end instead of a delay. I received rejection letter after rejection letter from the many book proposals I’d sent to publishers. I was so frustrated! I started wondering if I'd heard God incorrectly when this passion to write was placed in my heart.
I didn't realize I was confusing a delay with a dead end. But I think we do this all the time. We put a period where our life story may just need a little string of dots ...
In punctuation, there are terminal points and pausing points. A terminal point is a period, a question mark or an exclamation point.
But there are far more options for pausing points, such as the comma, semicolon, colon, the em dash, and my personal favorite, which drives my editors a little batty: the ellipsis.
What in the world does all of this have to do with biblical Truth?
When we confuse what's really a pausing point with a terminal point, we can get into trouble. And that's how the people of Israel got themselves into a mess of trouble while waiting for Moses to come down from a mountaintop meeting with God.
Exodus 32:1 tells us, "When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.'"
What "happened" to "this fellow Moses" was that God was giving him the Ten Commandments. A pretty important pause. But because the people didn’t understand the delay, they decided they couldn't trust God.
So, they took matters into their own hands and had Aaron form a false god to comfort themselves and combat their confusion. In the end, their solution only added more chaos. And it cost them more than they ever imagined.
They got completely out of control. They became the laughingstock of their enemies. Many lost their lives - it says over 3,000 died. AND they suffered from a plague. (Exodus 32:25-35)
Of course, they could have avoided it all, including enraging Moses to the point where he threw the stone tablets God had personally carved for them, breaking them into pieces. But avoiding all of this would have required waiting just a little longer for Moses to return.
Oh, friend. When there is a delay in our lives, we must determine to fill the gap between here and there by intentionally proclaiming every hint of God's activity. Just the fact that we woke up breathing this morning is evidence of His goodness. So, let's make a list and keep acknowledging that just because God is silent in one area of our life does not mean He is silent in every area.
Also, let's think about an area of our life where we've been waiting for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time. Let's determine today to not mistake this delay for a dead end.
We can say out loud, "I will not run ahead of God in this. I will not manipulate or manufacture solutions. I will not give up until God confirms I should. I will keep seeking God, fully anticipating and trusting His perfect plan to unfold in His perfect timing and His perfect way. And if He does confirm this is a dead end, I will still honor Him."
As for the delays in my journey to be a writer, I can look back and see that the Lord used those times in my life to develop my character to match my calling - and I'm so thankful He did.
So let's trust Him today. And choose to believe He is packing great purpose into our places of pausing.
Heavenly Father, I confess that all too often I confuse pauses with end points. Remind me that my thoughts are not Your thoughts, and my ways are not Your ways. Help me not run ahead of You, but instead fully seek You. I trust that Your plan and timing are perfect. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 55:8-9, "‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" (NIV)
Are you exhausted from trying to control people and circumstances in your life? Loosen your grip as you start taking steps to truly rely on God with the help of Lysa TerKeurst's new Bible study on 1 & 2 Kings, Trustworthy: Overcoming Our Greatest Struggles to Trust God. Order your copy here.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you ever mistaken a delay for a dead end in your life? We would love to hear what you learned from that season. Join in the conversation here today.
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