It was September 2008 and I was sitting across the table from a record label executive who proudly announced plans for me to make a new worship album. Fast forward 12 years to March 2020, and that album is just now being released.

We all have to wait for things we’d prefer not to. But 12 years? For something I expected to take less than 12 months?

How do you trust God when something you really want, something you believe He promised you, takes much longer than you expect?

Delay of fulfilled promises happens to all of us. The question is how do we respond to it? Are we going to waste the time of waiting on God? Or are we going to maximize it and allow Him to use it in our lives?

I wish I could tell you that I trusted the Lord completely and waited with unwavering patience for the past decade. But the real story is a bit bumpier, as real stories usually are.

How do you trust God when something you really want, something you believe He promised you, takes much longer than you expect? Click To Tweet

My delay became apparent in short increments. Each spring I was told, “Your album is being pushed back to the fall.” Then in the fall, I was told, “Your album is being pushed back to next spring.” This went on for so long that I began to think maybe it wasn’t God’s will for me to record worship music anymore.

This possibility actually made sense because in 2009, God clearly called me into arts and entertainment. But even as He was leading me toward musicals, films, and other creative arts, I still felt a tug on my heart to write and record worship music. The desire was so strong that I continued to co-write worship songs multiple hours each week.

If we cling to the dream more than to the dream-giver, disappointment is inevitable. Click To Tweet

Even so, by 2016, I was convinced that I would only write songs for other people to record. I became shut down to the idea of ever recording them myself. In June, on a writing trip in Nashville, an award-winning producer unexpectedly approached me and told me that he wanted to work with me on a worship album. I was so convinced by then that this was not God’s will that I barely acknowledged his offer. It wasn’t until a friend strongly encouraged me that this opportunity might be God that I began to consider it seriously.

Three months after meeting that producer, I finally contacted him and told him that I had been writing a lot and had about 90 demos ready to be heard. After several months and five trips to Nashville and Dallas, we had the songs chosen and the album recorded. Finally, the hope and expectation that was born in me eight years earlier was about to be fulfilled.

Wrong again.

Our lives are not just about DOING a bunch of stuff. First and foremost, our lives are about RELATIONSHIP with Him. Click To Tweet

Due to a variety of circumstances, the album release was delayed – another two and a half years. Now I was really questioning God. Why did You allow this dream to take root in my heart eight years ago, help me surrender it, then seemingly resurrect it, just to make me wait again?

During this time I thought a lot about James 1:4, Let patience have its perfect work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I have read and prayed this verse a lot over the past 12 years.

I can say now that the delay of the promise of an album has ultimately deepened my friendship with Jesus. I discovered firsthand that when I go to Him in the midst of delay, frustration, and the temptation to give up, He meets me there.

The opposite can happen if we’re not careful. If we cling to the dream more than to the dream-giver, disappointment is inevitable. But if we find a way to go after His heart in the midst of unexplained delays, we can avoid wasting the waiting. We can emerge from delays with a prize more valuable than any we started out pursuing: a deep, enduring, and intimate friendship with the Lord.

Don’t waste this precious time of waiting on God. He wants to use it for your good and His glory. Click To Tweet

Our lives are not just about DOING a bunch of stuff (even stuff for Him). First and foremost, our lives are about RELATIONSHIP with Him. If God just wanted a bunch of tasks accomplished, He could have created robots. Instead, He created humans, with a capacity to persevere and to choose love and friendship above all.

Jesus Himself waited 30 years before He did any ministry. Why? Because He was growing in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. In the process, He was becoming our brother, truly one of us (Luke 2:52). Because Jesus knows and empathizes with our weakness, He comes with deep love to meet us in it.

I realize that waiting 12 years for a worship album is nothing in the grand scheme of things and might even seem trite compared with the struggles some of you are facing. Maybe you’re waiting to meet your future spouse, to have a child, to be healed, or to see a lost loved one encounter the Lord. Or perhaps you’re waiting for an acceptance letter to come, a promotion to be granted, or a long-held promise to be fulfilled.

Are you wasting time waiting on God? Click To Tweet

Maybe it feels like you’re in a storm right now, much like the one Jesus’ disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus was sound asleep in the boat. I’m sure the disciples were wondering, Why isn’t Jesus helping us? We’re about to sink and drown! But Jesus, though silent, was not absent. He was right there in the boat, going through the storm with them. He just wasn’t worried.⠀⠀⠀

In closing, I want to encourage you that whatever delay you find yourself in today, the Lord is right there with you, not worried. He sees. He knows. He hears your prayers. I invite you to consider that He may want to speak to you the same thing He spoke to me: It’s all about relationship. He is in the delay, ready and willing to talk. It’s not about finally getting that thing you want. It’s about Him getting hold of your heart, winning your gaze, and producing a leaning on Him that will outlast any delay. Don’t waste this precious time of waiting on God. He wants to use it for your good and His glory.

I pray that as you have an opportunity to listen to this album that was over 10 years in the making, you will find messages woven throughout it that the Lord took His time to prepare just for you. God, let patience continue to have its perfect work in all of us, that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Check out more of his work here.


I’m Justin Rizzo. I enable worship leaders who feel isolated, overworked, and unfocused to experience peace, confidence and create thriving worship communities.

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See His Love [Unplugged Grand]



2 comments

  1. Lisa Groen

    Justin, I am really looking forward to listening to your album. It reminds me of how when you make homemade chicken soup, you can dice up all the celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, corn and beans, chicken and rice and spices, but, it tastes so much better after it just simmers and cooks and all the flavors get pulled out and blended into one another. I believe you had the ingredients, but maybe the Lord was letting your ingredients simmer and steep, soaking each of your flavors into each song.

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