Why Delay Happens

Over the past 4 years I have been processing the idea of delay from a biblical perspective. I even have a couple of notes in my phone from 2015 and 2017 where I have asked this question and began listing situations, stories, and sagas that required or involved delay and waiting. As I have been thinking about this, again, I felt it useful to share, especially in light of the fact that the Lord has been highlighting the story of Joseph with multiple people in the body of believers.

As an aside, there is an important wrinkle in the fact that numerous people are discussing Joseph’s story this season: Every part of Joseph’s story is important to the Body of Christ right now. The Coat, the Dreams, the Pit, Potiphar’s wife, Walking in his gifting, and ruling in Egypt in order to “save many alive”. We should be studying Joseph and his process as much as we have done so to recognize the Elijah cycle that our nation has been going through.

Below will be a combination of lists and thoughts that I’ll continue to develop. I am publishing it now because, ironically enough, i don’t think I should wait anymore.

So, what is going on when…

God decides to wait it out?

In God’s conversation with Abraham (Gen 15:13-14) regarding his descendants, He promises Abraham that they will be in bondage for 400 years. Why? Because God knew that the Amorites (descendants of Caanan) needed time to get to the level of wickedness so that they forfeited their right to the land in which they lived. This also left plenty of time for them to repent and change (Psalm 10:6; Psalm 50:21; Isaiah 26:10; Romans 2:4–5; 2 Peter 3:9). Who knows what marvelous story God could have woven in those circumstances?

Joseph spent 13 years in between the Pit and standing before Pharaoh in preparation.

Joseph made his brothers wait in order to make sure that Benjamin was still living. He wanted to ensure that God was fulfilling His promise regarding the dreams of the wheat and the stars.

Before Jesus, there 400 years of prophetic quiet after Malachi wrote his book.

From Jeroboam to Josiah, there were 360 years. The prophecy identifying Josiah’s righteous reign was given as Jeroboam slipped into wickedness.

Isaiah speaks of Cyrus 150 years before he comes to power

God doesn’t have to wait long, but He will outlast you: Jonah had to wait 3 days in the belly of the “whale” before he was brought back to life.

David waited 13 years, much like Joseph, to refine His Reformers

He waits for partnership – Simon & Anna

He waits for fullness – Amorites & Israel

He waits for permission – Zacheus

He waits for for the unexpected – Woman @ the Well

He waits to make his point – Woman caught in adultery 

When he waits, He is opening the door for Grace for someone to step into His invitation. He waited on Mt. Sinai for Moses to turn aside.

When he is waiting, He is letting the grace run out on the persistently wicked

He waits for people to repent – Paul during his 3 days of fasting


Why is there delay?

Better timing ahead (David ambushing the Philistines)

The season isn’t done

The crisis hasn’t happened (Lazarus)

To grow faith (lazarus again)

Resistance from enemy (Daniel/Courts of Heaven)

Rebellion or disobedience of a generation (70 years of waiting in Babylon)

Mercy from God to allow for repentance 

Mercy from God to extend life (Hezekiah)


He is about to begin something new, so, to allow hunger and desperation to grow and to allow His people to prepare, He is calling us to Wait on Him. Next, I’ll start listing ways to speed things up.

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