Divine Delays
Zoe Elmore

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

My schedule was tight and I was out of make-up, so I planned to pick up my favorite foundation at the local mall, leaving room to still arrive on time for my friend's annual Christmas tea. As I prepared to leave, the Lord whispered to my heart, Don't go to the mall; go to the make-up store near your home.

But Lord, I argued, I have my friend's Christmas tea and the mall is on the way. What You're asking me to do isn't convenient. I will have to go out of my way and I will be late for the tea. And You know how important punctuality is to me!

After more mental arguing, I reluctantly obeyed and went into the corner make-up store.

I knew the young woman working. She's not only pleasant, but quick and efficient with her customers. Lord, maybe this inconvenience won't interrupt my schedule too much after all. As I entered the store, the familiar woman greeted me and offered to help with my purchase. I told her what I needed and added that I was in quite a hurry to be on time for my Christmas tea.

Quickly and efficiently she found the needed product and walked me to the register to check out.

This was easier than I thought, I said to myself as she handed me my purchase. Then it happened ... the reason I had been led to go out of my way.

"I know you're in a hurry, and I will only keep you one more moment." The young woman shared. "I'd like to ask that you pray for me and my struggling marriage as you drive to your Christmas tea. I don't think my marriage can be saved."

In that moment I sensed the Lord, This is why I wanted to interrupt your busy schedule.

I placed my purchase on the counter, held her hands and prayed. As the Lord guided my words, the young woman began to sob, her tears landing softly on my hands. When I said "Amen," she hugged me tightly and whispered, "Of all the people I've asked to pray for me, you're the first one to stop and do so. Thank you. I've been very discouraged, and had thought no one would ever respond to my request. In fact, I had given up all hope that God even heard my cries for help."

I reminded her of Psalm 145:18-19, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them" (NIV).

She thanked me for my time, adding that she would begin to dig into God's Word for more strength and encouragement. The store began to fill with customers. There was one more hug and an exchange of phone numbers as I left for the tea.

Since that day we have talked and prayed together on several occasions and we plan to continue into the New Year. Each time she and I talk, it's a reminder that when I listen and obey the Lord's promptings, I experience the joy of His presence in a powerful way.

God's divine delay taught me that being used by the Lord for His glory in the life of others far outweighs arriving on time.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to use me for Your purposes and glory. Teach me to listen and obey without reservation or hesitation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Apples of Gold: A Six-Week Nurturing Program for Women by Betty Huizenga

Visit Zoe’s blog - Called by a New Name

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

Desperate Prayers, Divine Answers, a free online article from P31 Woman magazine

Application Steps:
Examine your relationship with the Lord; are you allowing the business of this season to crowd out His small quiet voice?

Are you listening to and obeying the Lord's promptings in your life?

Are you refusing to listen and obey because it might inconvenience you?

Power Verses:
Deuteronomy 31:6, 8, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (NIV)

Luke 12:6-7, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (ESV)

© 2009 by Zoe Elmore. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Mommy Melback said...

This is just what I needed this morning in soo many ways.
~I love how you wrote about literally debating God on why you should use your plan not his. I do this all the time. "God,your will be done but can we do it my way" :)
~I love the fact that you prayed with the woman right then and there. I would have been one of the "others" who would have put her in my nightly prayer. 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

4:3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

4:5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

4:6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

4:7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Have a great day~~

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried to be that for others...but at this point in my life I am "all out"...I have no more to give. I was brought up in a home where emotions were not discussed...and both parents were emotionally absent. I married a man who is emotionally absent from me as well. I need to know that there is someone who cares, who actually thinks of me once in a while without me having to "chase them down" and beg their attention.

There are many days where I have given and given...but today...I am empty...I need refilling-refreshing-reviving...

It is a day where I feel that i have lost hope. Your story about the lady who had given up hope for her marriage...is me. I know God hates divorce...and it is not my first choice..My first choice is for our marriage to be healed...but doesn't that take two people wanting it? He just doesn't really care that much...he doesn't seem to want to make sacrifices that don't profit himself.

I'm tired, and sad. I have worked really hard to try to improve our situation but feel that even God isn't helping me in this. I give up. Please pray....

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope you come back and read this i have been where you are and am there almost everyday but just know this website is here for you. and people who write here do so to reach people like us. You are a amazing person and the people you give to would be so lost with out you. its ok to take time for you just reflect on you and the people you have touched. i pray that your cup will be filled and your spirit will be rested and renewed. I am on your side and it helps me to know that there is someone else in this world that feel the same as i have. I always thought it was just me. i hope you feel my hug for you!

Blogger Killara girl said...

Amen....in the midst of our own struggles we can easily forget others struggle too....just because we don't see it. I know God is telling me to stop and listen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
Please don't doubt God, he has not given up on you! Cast your cares on him for he cares for you! He may not have answered your prayers the way you want or in the time frame you had hoped for, but he has a plan for you. Plans for good! Don't give up, don't give in to weariness. Draw closer and lift the Lord in praise and he will take care of you and your situation. God Bless.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible. I love my Proverbs 31 devotions.

Anonymous Andrea said...

What an excellent devotional today, Zoe! Thank you for the needed reminder to listen to the Lord's "still small voice" as He leads and directs us. I love the Scripture verses you included, esp. that "the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Love, Andrea

Blogger Angela Dell said...

Dear God,
I am sorry for all the times I have ignored your promptings from taking time with my children to saying hi to someone. This devotional remined me of why I hear that tiny voice, not to distract or annoy me but to give me blessings and be your hands and feet to those around me. Forgive me for my calloused heart that has not heard or heeded your words. Help tomorrow be a new start for me. Help me to honor my commitments that I have made to you and to be honorable in my doings each day especially with my little ones. I know you are prompting anxiety within me to remind me that this time is fleeting yet I know I have ignored you and I am sorry I recognize your words and pray you help me heed them. Let tommorrow be the start of a new beginning. Thank you for the chance to do things new each day. Cleanse my heart and let your words ring in my ear especially when little voices ask for me to play.

Anonymous wendelijn said...

Just thanks God and thanks Lisa for these words today!

Blogger Jennifer H. said...

Dear Anonymous,
It's not Wednesday anymore, but I hope you return to your post. I hear the pain of your words & want you to know I have been praying for you. My prayer for you is that you will study God's word & begin to see yourself through His eyes. Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." If you are a Christian, this pertains to you! It's no accident you grew up the way you did. God knew what He was doing when He gave you to your parents. You are very important to Him & very much loved by Him. You are a beautiful, precious child of God, & I pray that you will begin to see yourself in that light because that's exactly who you are. I really believe if you look at yourself through God's eyes instead of your eyes, not only will you see a change in yourself but also in those around you. Remember, you are sooo precious to God!!! So much so that He allowed His Son to die for YOU. I hope this helps...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this. Thank you for sharing. Oh, Lord, help me to be quick to heed Your Direction in my life and be doing Your Will not my own. In Jesus Name I pray.

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