One of our core faculty members, Rod Denton, has been going through a trying season the last several years. After wave upon wave of disappointment and agony, he shared the following wisdom. I'm sharing it here with his permission, and I hope it encourages you...
To Our Praying Friends,
It is not always easy to have clear perspective as we have journeyed over many years of illness and chronic pain. How do we make sense of it all? Where is God in the extended seasons of unceasing trauma?
How do we push on when there are no easy answers and we feel like we are hanging on by a thread? What can we share with our prayer partners to encourage them, when there is seemingly little or no encouragement to share?
Recently we listened to a message from Paul Scanlon called The Agony Of Divine Delay and we want to share some of Paul's wisdom together with some of our own insights that we have accumulated in our battle to see a breakthrough in a difficult challenge.
- There are times when we need to develop a theology of passive omnipotence.
- We need to remember that there were many situations in scripture when God’s saints experienced divine delays and needed to trust God in the darkest of situations where they had no idea why the delays were occurring and when or if they would end.
- A classic example is Job who needed to stay strong in spite of great tragedies and supposed “friends” who only served to increase the pain that he had to endure with their arrogant theology, rather than sit with him and share the sorrow and pain that he was going through.
- One of the great dangers for those who are going through the agony of divine delay is to be confronted with people who are obsessed with happy endings and rush in with inappropriate premeditated happy conclusions while the painful battle is raging. These people are apt to give a shallow diagnosis of what is going on in a suffering life/family without understanding and feeling the pain that those in the midst of the suffering are feeling. Everything for them is black and white and there is no room for mystery (we have a large mystery box), or coming alongside when things are messy.
- The delay zone calls for a special kind of friendship and a willingness to keep on faithfully praying when they don’t know how or when the divine delay will end, or even if it will end.
- The greatest miracle sometimes is the miracle of enduring the pain and the miracle of growth that’s taking place in people’s lives in the season of divine delay.
- People in pain are not necessarily looking for solutions, there may be none. It can be helpful just to validate their pain and be with them.
- It is a costly thing to walk with people who are going through the agony of divine delay. It can cause inconvenience, interruptions, and at times the feeling of being unproductive.
We may struggle with the discomfort of sharing another’s pain and not quite know how to be the type of friend that people in the delay zone want around them.
- But there are benefits as well. We’ll grow to be more like Jesus, we will develop disciplines that will cause us to grow in our self-leadership so that we will be better able to lead others. We will grow in critical areas of emotional intelligence and be a better person to be around others.
- The season of divine delay requires us to walk by faith and keep an eternal perspective on life. God is a God of hope and He is bigger than the experiences of life that come our way. So we never stop praying.
- God is a God of love. Henry Blackaby was faced with the challenge of whether God still loved him as his 16-year-old daughter was told she had an advanced case of cancer.
“Long before my daughter’s cancer, I had made a determination, no matter what my circumstances, I would look at my situation only against the backdrop of the cross.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God forever convinced me that He loved me.”
Here is the link to Paul Scanlon's message: https://youtu.be/eghvMDmCpHE
The Agony of Divine Delay
Your prayers are a wonderful gift to us. We trust that this message will be an amazing gift to you. Paul Scanlon says, "This message is not for the faint-hearted nor is it for those whose God is too fragile to be questioned or criticized by humanity."
By listening to this message you will be better able to enter into the journey that is consuming us right now and you may be better equipped to handle The Agony of the Divine Delays in the lives of others and perhaps on some future journey that you may encounter.
The Asian Access community is walking with Rod in prayer. Will you join us in interceding for him?
Joe Handley, President
- Watch this clip on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eghvMDmCpHE
- Cover photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash; cross photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash
- Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au
- See also, Asian Access Faculty