So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Shrewd positioning in entertainment, politics, and war includes tactical delays. Surprise can be a great advantage. Consider the dramatic moment: unsuspecting friends or foes are shocked by an exciting entrance or a deadly attack. God invented drama, and He obviously loves a good story.
Today's first scripture highlights Jesus' 2nd most famous tactical delay: the one in which He waited until His friend, Lazarus, was four days dead to come to his rescue. His strategy set up an amazing miracle. (Our King's most famous delay preceded His Own resurrection.)
Our second scripture comes after Jesus fed the 5000--then ordered His disciples to leave in a boat without Him. As they battled high winds later that night, Jesus came walking to them on water: surely one of the wonder-filled moments in history.
Our third scripture's tactical delay is subtle. When the Pharisees presented Jesus with the challenge of stoning an adulterous woman, He delayed His response to them--twice. For no apparent reason, He bent down to write on the ground.
But the delays allowed Him time to pray and her accusers time to repent. Through wisdom and patience, He saved more lives than one.
Actors, models, and talent for Christ: consider your own tactical delays as purposed by God.
1) Concerning Lazarus, Jesus said to a doubting Martha: 'Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the glory of God?' (John 11:40). Continue to believe Him through seemingly deadly delays to see the coming glory of your own rising stardom.
2) Concerning stormy seas, Jesus said to a scared Peter: 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' (Matthew 14:31). Continue to believe through life's storms that Jesus is coming to your rescue. Not only that, but He invites you to walk on top of the storms with Him.
3) Concerning bullies and skeptics who want to test you, Jesus first acted 'As though He did not hear' them (John 8:6). Delay your response to challenging situations until you pause, pray, and hear from God. He will put the right words into your mouth.
As for the surprise of a delayed entrance or happy ending (even your own), trust God's timing. We serve the Master Tactician.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Positioning series.