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Delayed, not dead

The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise as some people think. He is waiting for you. The Lord does not want any person to be punished forever. He wants all people to be sorry for their sins and turn from them. (2 Peter 3:9)

I would like us to stop for a moment this morning to think on these words - the Lord is not slow about keeping his promises as some people think. If you promise me something, I am looking out for the fulfillment of that promise. I am eager to see it come to pass - whether it is a promise that is for me, or one for somebody else I care deeply about. If we see a delay in the promise, we might just think God isn't going to bring it to pass, or that he has forgotten us, or even that we might not have heard God right when we stood upon that particular promise. We are like that because we expect the fulfillment to be one way, but God may be coming about it in a totally different way than we expected. 

I think I shared this before, but it bears repeating. There are periods in time when the promise isn't really in our reach, but it doesn't mean it isn't there still. In the early 80's, I had been out of the military for a couple of years and desired to use my GI Bill for funding my nursing education. From the age of twelve I had dreamed of being a nurse, helping people dealing with illness, and seeing them heal. I remember being just about ready to go sign up for the classes - a huge step of faith with two small children, a fairly low household income, and challenges with transportation. It was my dream - my hope - a promise of sorts that I believe God put into my heart. Then things changed in a blink of an eye.

As I was going out of the parking lot of the large apartment complex where we lived, a man fell in a full grand mal seizure right in front of me, striking his head hard on the pavement, bleeding profusely from the wound. I stopped, rendered first aide, called for someone to alert EMS, and then promptly left when the paramedics arrived on scene and took over. Instead of heading to the school to enroll in my classes, I returned to the apartment, cleaned myself up, changed my clothes, and hunkered down with my kids. What happened? I was shaken to the core to see the helplessness of the man, seeing the depths of his pain as he dealt with this life-debilitating disease.

It made me think I needed more than just my 'book-learning' in nursing. It shook me to the core - to look deep into what 'else' I could offer to those who hurt so deeply. Here was a man about my age, seizing uncontrollably on a hot pavement lot, bleeding as though it would never stop, clothes soiled as he lost control of his bladder function. Then as he came around, the emptiness and fear in his eyes spoke volumes to me. I needed more! I needed 'footing' to my nursing career. I needed Christ to make me solid in my faith and firm in my convictions. I need him more than I needed the book-learning. If you know the rest of the story, you know that I took a detour that week - right over to the local Bible College enrollment office!

Yes, the promise was still there. Yes, the fulfillment would be a little delayed in terms of when I'd start my nursing career. But...the foundation was laid. That man's life changed mine. I don't even know his name, and he likely doesn't know mine. It was a moment in time that changed my life. God was still going to fulfill the promise of nursing, but he was going to fulfill it in his way - with a firm foundation that would guide my steps. I have been a nurse now for over 32 years. I have seen much in that time, but I have been anchored in Christ through it all. Sometimes our promises are delayed in our mind's way of thinking about them, but let me just remind you - God's timing is always perfect! Just sayin!

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