by Rick Warren — April 14, 2023
From Created to Dream
“Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?”
Deuteronomy 8:2 (TLB)
In this series, we’re learning how God takes us through the Six Phases of Faith—a dream, decision, delay, difficulty, dead end, and deliverance—over and over again throughout our lives to grow our faith and develop our character.
The third phase God uses to grow your faith as you work to fulfill your dream is when you face delays.
Dreams are never fulfilled immediately. There is always a waiting period.
The Israelites were brought out of Egypt and then wandered around for 40 years before they went into the Promised Land, even though their journey shouldn’t have taken more than a few weeks. Just like the Israelites, sometimes you are delayed by God’s design. Every dream has difficulties, and God uses delays to prepare you to face those difficulties.
God also uses delays to test you. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 8:2, “Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him?” (TLB).
So when your dream is delayed, how should you respond?
Embracing fear is the first mistake the Israelites made. Deuteronomy 1:28 says, “Why should we go there? We are afraid. The men we sent tell us that the people there are stronger and taller than we are” (GNT). The Israelites had enough faith to move out of Egypt, but they didn’t have enough faith to move into the Promised Land. They were afraid.
The problem with fear is that it keeps you in the wilderness. It prolongs the delay. Many of your dreams have never been fulfilled, not because of God but because of you—because you wouldn’t step out in faith.
The antidote to fear is focusing on God’s presence. You remember that God is with you. He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 TLB). He’s with you now, he always has been, and he always will be.
Maybe you’re in the delay phase right now. You’ve been praying about something, and it hasn’t happened yet. You may start to think that God has forgotten you.
God will never forget you! This is a delay by design. God knows what you’re going through. He wants to build your character, and he wants you to learn to trust in him. You can count on him for his help. Don’t fear.