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The Blessings of Delays

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Delay: Definition

The word "delay" can be used as a noun and as a verb. As a noun, it is something or someone that is late or slowed down. It is the thing that is to put off to a later time, a deferment or postponement. A delay is not a cancelation.

As a verb, it is the act of slowing something down or the act of waiting to do something later. Delaying something doesn't mean it won't happen at all. It just won't happen when it is needed, expected or originally planned. In fact, there is a religious quote that says, "God's delays are not God's denials."


There are blessings in God's delays. However, people need to be open to see that God's "Wait" is much different from God's "No." God has never reneged on any of His more than 800 promises in the Bible. He never made a vow, gave a promise or made a pledge that He won't keep.

According to Isaiah 55:11, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." That means God's word will be accomplished. What God said would happen will happen even though He did not specify a particular time. Therefore, delays are often part of God's blessings.

All of God's pledges and promises do not happen immediately. The Bible is full of promises that God made to His people that took many years to be fulfilled.

Abraham's Delay

God promised Abraham a son even though he was old, and his wife Sarah was old and barren. The promise was delayed, and Isaac was born 25 years later. Abraham had every reason to give up and think God had forgotten His promise. When the time was right, Abraham received his blessings. He was 100 years old and Sarah, his wife was 90.

The Hebrew Slaves' Delay

The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt for 430 years. God was waiting to raise up a deliverer. When Moses was equipped to lead them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and across the desert, God answered their prayer after the long delay.

The Barren Women's Delays

There were several barren women in the Bible. They wanted children, especially a male child, but God had shut up their wombs until the right time. God did not rush the process even though the women were unhappy and prayed during the long wait.

The births of the sons were delayed until they could do the greatest good for the nation.

  • Sarah, Abraham's first wife and Isaac's mother - Genesis 11:30, 16:1-2
  • Rebekah, Isaac's wife, Jacob and Esau's mother - Genesis 25:21
  • Rachel, Jacob's second wife, Joseph and Benjamin's mother - Genesis 29:31
  • Manoah's nameless wife, Samson's mother - Judges 13:2
  • Hannah, Elkanah's wife and Samuel's mother - 1 Samuel 1:1-5
  • Elisabeth, Zechariah's wife and John the Baptist's mother - Luke 1:7
The Raising of Lazarus Painting

The Raising of Lazarus Painting

Martha and Mary's Request Delayed

Jesus was a friend of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Some people do not understand why Jesus did not rush to Lazarus' side when he received an urgent message from his sisters that Lazarus was sick. Jesus' refusal to go to see Lazarus immediately even baffled His disciples. Lazarus was on his death beath, but Jesus delayed His visit, according to John 11:1-44.

By the time Jesus arrived in Bethany at the home of HIs friends, Lazarus had been dead four days. What definitely appeared to be a denial, Jesus actually delayed his visit on purpose. While the sisters and people in the community were thinking in terms of a temporary healing, Jesus was thinking in terms of the resurrection. He performed a miracle over death in the sight of those who stood around the tomb. When the time was right, Jesus simply said, “Lazarus, come forth," and His friend came from the tomb alive and well.

Your Delays

You might have prayed for something and you are still waiting for it. There are some things that might give you comfort while you wait.

  • The promised blessing may be delayed, but there are smaller blessings along the way. While Abraham waited for his son of promise, God kept him in His care.
  • The Hebrews slaves waited and God provided for them while they waited and prayed.
  • The aforementioned women were barren for a long time. Even though God did not give them sons right away, He allowed the women to keep the faith and keep on praying. Their sons were born when they could do their greatest goods for the nation.
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Be of good courage if you are waiting for one of God's promises to come to fruition. He is waiting for the perfect time for the fulfillment so you can do the greatest good. You might not be ready for the blessing to come at the time you prayed for it.

While you are waiting for the blessing, the blessing might be waiting for you. When God is convinced that you are ready for the blessing and all conditions are right, your blessing will come to you not a moment sooner and not a moment later.


Jeshurun from Nellore AP India on July 21, 2020:

Dear Mom, I hope that you had good experience with word of God in the influence of Holy Spirit who I think guide you stirring holiness among God following people like us.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on August 21, 2019:

Betty, Jason, wba108, and Tim, thanks so much for your valuable comments. I enjoyed reading them just as much as I enjoyed writing the article.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on August 21, 2019:

Hi, Margaret, I remember an old gospel song: He's an on Time God. "He may not come when we want Him, but He will be there right on time." Our understanding of time is not God's perception of what he wants to happen or when He wants it to happen.

Great article. Thanks. from upstate, NY on August 21, 2019:

And as you said, God delays His blessings for our own good. It gets us in a place where our character is sufficiently built to enable us to be ready to receive His blessings without it destroying us!

Jason Reid Capp from Myrtle Beach, SC USA on August 21, 2019:

I use many of the same points to help Christians understand the importance of meditation too, which you also talked about recently. Personally, I think God rarely answers prayers, and for good reason. We have been equipped with so much, and many of the prayers we offer to God are white noise to a degree.

Patience is one of the most difficult virtues in life, and for Christians, I find it to be an even greater one. So many people want to take the expressway to victory in life, but that rarely-to-never happens. Most of life is about climbing a mountain, often battling from the disadvantage, but that is where we learn the most. Sadly, many Christians see this as a trial instead of a blessing, which prevents them from even learning in the moment. We have been equipped, and we need to recognize that equipping and use it as we climb.

Thank you once again for another fantastic write-up! It is very engaging and I look forward to the next.

Betty A F from Florida on August 21, 2019:

Good morning Margaret,

This is an excellent article and a great reminder about being patient while waiting for prayers to be answered. You covered so many wonderful, biblical examples of different people who had to wait for promises to be fulfilled.

This article was a great way to start my day.

I hope you are having a very blessed week.

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