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‘God’s delays are not God’s denials,’ he says

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Gary Taylor knows how to get an audience’s attention. In 30 years of ministry, he said, he has learned something: God doesn’t always come through.
Speaking to students during a Jan. 27 chapel service at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo., Taylor’s remark caused students to look around, wondering if they had heard correctly.
Taylor, pastor of First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, Mo., and a 1967 alumnus of Midwestern, listed several biblical heroes whom God didn’t protect from adversity, struggle and even death.
“God also didn’t protect me from a self-appointed vigilante group of deacons and deacon’s wives who told me my ministry in their church was over. God didn’t come through for me when lies were said about me. God didn’t keep my wife from cancer and he didn’t come through for me to protect me from a head-on collision.”
Turning to his text, John 11:1-6, Taylor read the story of Lazarus’ sickness and Jesus’ delay in coming, during which time Lazarus died. Noting the text says how much Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Taylor said, “When it seems God doesn’t come through, we miss that God’s delays are always delays of love. We forget God loves us regardless. Jeremiah says God loves us with an everlasting love. When you are at your best and when you are at your worst, God’s love is there. Indifference is not a characteristic of God.”
When God doesn’t come through, Taylor explained, it also doesn’t mean that God is not able. He cited examples from Abraham to Paul which show there is nothing too hard for God. “What kind of problem do you have that God can’t handle?” Taylor asked.
Therefore, he noted, the problem is not lack of God’s love or his ability. “The question should not be, ‘Why?’ but, ‘God, what are you saying to me?'”
In the text, Jesus explained his delay was for God’s glory. “This means being able to give a good opinion of God. God is going to see to it that everything that occurs, in the end result, is going to give everybody a good opinion of him.”
If Jesus had just come and healed Lazarus, Taylor said, it would not have given nearly as much glory to God as it did when Jesus came and raised Lazarus from the dead. “God might be waiting in your life and your ministry for the situation to become ‘graveyard dead,’ so that when resurrection comes, people will say, ‘God did it. God deserves all the glory.’
“Look at your circumstances from the vantage point of God’s love, rather than looking at God’s love from the vantage point of your circumstances. Start out by saying, ‘Because God loves me, I know that he has my best interests in mind.”
Taylor closed his message with words of comfort and a final principle from the text. “God’s delays are not God’s denials. Jesus waited, but he didn’t wait forever. He may be saying ‘no’ to you right now, but your part is too persevere and to keep on. Stay with it. You’re about ready to quit? Don’t do it. Know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

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  • John Gaskin