Many of us don’t like delays. They can feel inconvenient, irritating, sometimes senseless, and often, bothersome. We experience setbacks when we travel. We sometimes sit for hours delayed at airports. Other times, our vehicles crawl slowly forward in congested traffic, prolonging our hunger or rest. At times, we are deferred earned promotions. Sometimes relationships lag in developing or improving. We yearn for righteous desires to be fulfilled in this life. Here in mortality, we want sooner than later what we think we need. When we feel we would most benefit from it, relief and respite can be painfully prolonged. Sometimes the Lord delays blessings or withholds them altogether in this life for reasons around which we seem to not be able to fully wrap our noggins.
What are we to do when we find ourselves staring down a delay? Throw in the towel, say our faith didn’t pay off, quit believing in the promises?
That’s an option.
But there’s a better one, a three-fold approach that makes the delay much more understandable and endurable.
First, we must recognize the delay for what it is. Then, we should put it where it belongs: this life only. Our vision should include eternity. For the faithful, God’s promises don’t come with expiration dates. They don’t sour with time like old milk. Some are for this life, and others are for what’s beyond this life! For the faithful who are delayed righteous desires of their hearts, it is not permanent denial. It is temporary delay.
When you are up against a devastating delay, be comforted in knowing your demonstrated faith may not make the mortal delay disappear, but it will protect you against an eternal denial. Over the years, I have learned to simply trust and embrace this truth. It is now deeply tucked inside my heart. We must not let the devil or any of his disparaging distractions dissuade us from believing it.
Ninth Young Women General President, Ardeth Greene Kapp, was denied the chance to mother offspring in this life. Her counsel, though given to those in similar circumstances, is a thrilling pronouncement that can be applied by every imperfect yet striving celestial kingdom seeker. She wisely counseled,
When I was young, I thought the noblest thing in this life was to be a mother. I have since learned that the best mission in life is the one the Lord has prepared for me…If I have any comforting message for others, it is this: ‘Peace of mind comes from keeping an eternal perspective. Motherhood…is a foreordained mission. For some, this glorious blessing may be delayed, but it will not be denied…’ 1
Mission fulfillment means accepting and progressing in the mission God has personally designed for each of us. Sister Kapp is right, too, about peace of mind – and peace of heart – when we embrace the reality that this life isn’t the only chance for righteous desires to be granted.
“For some, this glorious blessing (and I add, any other for which righteous Saints are hopeful) may be delayed, but it will not be denied.” 2
Can you feel the power of those words? Do they infuse you with hope? Do they ease your disappointment? Comfort your soul? Bring a promise closer? Bolster your understanding? Fortify your faith in guarantees yet to come?
Second, questions of the soul are welcome with God and in this church. Go on, ask yours. Sometimes to family. On occasion to friends. But always to God. Why questions may not be the best, but God has tolerated many of them from me until I grew up in Him a bit more and realized that those weren’t the most beneficial or needful questions for my soul’s growth. However, while I was learning and seeking, I asked them, and God acknowledged them. I have found God to be indescribably patient with my learning, growing, and becoming.
As I have asked, sought, and knocked, I have tried hard to actively wait for answers. At times, I have pitched a tent on the beach of unbelief – barefoot and bereaving – and the result? I staggered backwards instead of looked forward with hope in His promises. The times that I’ve been up and doing, asking, inquiring, considering possibility upon possibility, and above all, believing that God is good and that He has a purpose to my waiting are the times I have grown the most. Satan would tempt us to see God as some prison warden who delights in our waiting confinement for naught, but I have learned to dismiss that incorrect image.
With his God given greatness with words and concepts, C.S. Lewis said:
The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in…It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise…But you must regard it as waiting, not camping. You must keep on praying for light…” 3
So there you have it from one of Christianity’s most inspired minds: there is purpose, there is meaning, there is immense growth potential in the hallway, in the waiting room. When God asks us to wait, He has intention and meaning in the wait.
Lastly, I’ve come to look for, expect, and deeply appreciate kind and judicious reassurances from the Lord as I’ve gone about the business of living with delays that seem hugely important to faith and family.
With his stripling warriors, Helaman also knew something of reassurances from the Lord as he and his freedom fighters stood resolute and faithful in the cause of their country:
…the Lord our God did visit us with assurances…He did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope… 4
What is soul peace worth? How can you put a price tag on great faith? How incredibly needful is abiding hope in today’s world? These gifts mercifully come through the reassurances of God. Most of the time for me, but not always, those reassurances have come unsolicited. Quiet and unannounced in their coming, they have been timely and revitalizing. Can we do anything except praise the Lord when they come? We must thank Him profusely for them – each one. They have, time and again, rescued me from despondency!
We have been invited, by the Lord’s anointed servants, to record, reread, study, cherish, and seek to more fully understand the reassurances that come to us via revelation. As I’ve worked to better understand the full meaning of those encouragements, their relevance for the here and now – even if total fulfillment is afar off – I have been so enriched, instructed, and appeased.
So while we faithfully wait and diligently prepare for what is on the eternal horizon for us, may we be comforted and at peace knowing that delays aren’t designed to be forever. We should go on, ask our questions while we find meaning in God asking us to wait, and for sure, let us carve out time to hear the Lord’s reassurances to our hearts.
The Holy Spirit has confirmed the pure truth of Elder Holland’s words to me time and time again.
Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. 5
They will come.
For now, during our time of seeming denial, may we choose to steadfastly embrace the good of the gospel. Our Heavenly Parents really are the supreme gift givers, and in the end, no righteous desires will be denied the faithful. Delayed? Perhaps. Denied? No, never.
- Thompson, A. (2005). Stand As A Witness: The Biography of Ardeth Greene Kapp. Desert Book Company.
- Lewis, CS. (1952). Mere Christianity. Geoffrey Bles.
- Alma 58:11.
- Holland, J., “A High Priest of Good Things to Come,” Ensign, November 1999, 36.
MaryannFebruary 3, 2023
How often we are instructed in the scriptures to "remember." Every one of us can choose to remember that the Lord loves us, and that we can fully TRUST him to grant our righteous desires when the time is right for us. We may feel frustrated, but we must never believe that he has forgotten us. The Lord ALWAYS keeps his promises. No blessings will be permanently denied if we sincerely seek to follow Him. In the meantime, there is great comfort in counting our blessings, building our relationships with family and friends, and serving. These things will help us keep a true perspective and bring us joy.
Rochelle HaleJanuary 31, 2023
As we wait we should never hinder our progress. When I married at the very old age of almost 25, I thought I was way behind many of my friends and that I had, somehow, missed the boat. However, I reflected on what I had done prior to my wedding. I had gone to college, I had served a mission, I had traveled, and experienced other things. Again waiting came when motherhood was delayed, but I moved ahead as best I could "mothering" nieces and nephews and the children of friends, seeking the best medical care, and adoption or other resources to bring children into our home. The Lord has many blessings in store for us, many much greater than we can hope for. Years ago, probably at a college devotional, we were counseled that it is ok to dream and maybe even buy a wedding dress, but don't get so stuck on what is not happening that we diminish the personal growth of our talents and testimonies, and opportunities to serve others.