Holding Pattern: Lessons learned in the waiting

My husband has been fascinated with aviation since he was a small boy. He has always wanted to fly some kind of aircraft, and he has plans to eventually get his Sport Pilot license and build his own light sport airplane. Due to this interest, we have watched a lot of videos about flying, including a series of docu-dramas about plane crashes and what caused them. One of the most memorable of these shows, for me, at least, was one about an airplane that got stuck in a holding pattern outside a busy airport and ran out of fuel before it was able to safely land. Talk about scary! Thankfully, that kind of accident is extremely rare, and flying is actually safer than getting in your car and driving down the highway.

Even so, anyone who has ever been near the end of a long flight and heard the pilot announce that your flight was being placed in a holding pattern, knows how frustrating that situation is. You have already been waiting a long time to get to your destination, cramped into a tight space in an uncomfortable position, and you just want to get landed and be there already. And if you have a connecting flight to catch shortly after landing, your mind starts racing trying to figure out how in the world you will ever make it in time!

For our family this time of transition has felt a lot like being in a holding pattern. We know our destination, and we are so ready to land and stretch our legs, but we can’t just yet. Some days it feels really frustrating. Some days we are worried that our fuel level is getting too low. And some days storms threaten to confuse us and steer us off course. But like a pilot who has been well-trained to rely on his¬†instruments and trust the air-traffic controller to guide him in to a safe landing, we are having to trust the Lord’s timing and keep our focus on His Word.

Did you know that in stormy or cloudy weather, a pilot can completely lose his sense of direction, even confusing which way is up or down? Without his instrument panel to tell him his altitude and attitude, a pilot could steer the aircraft right into a tailspin or lift the nose too high and cause the plane to stall. If he cannot see the land and the sky, he has to rely on those instrument readings fully, even if his body or brain tell him something different. The same is true for us when we get our eyes off of Christ and His Word. Looking at our situation or at the world can blur our spirtuak vision so much that we do not know which way is up. We lose our spirtual sense of direction. So when times are dark and stormy, we must, more than ever, keep our eyes on Jesus and stay in the Scriptures daily. Our very lives depend on it.

And just as the air traffic controller has a view of all the craft in his airspace, when the pilot can only see what is directly ahead a short distance, God has a wide view of our situation. He knows if something is in the way that needs to move before we can reach the nest step on our journey, so He holds us back just a little longer for our safety. We might be tempted to step out on our own because we can’t see far enough ahead, but we must not. If we will wait on His timing, our good, good Father will safely guide us to our destination at just the right time, in just the right way. And it will be so much better than if we had tried to do things our own way.

If you are in the middle of a storm, a time of testing, or a long holding pattern, I encourage you to get in God’s Word, to trust His timing and His ways and not become discouraged. He will bring you safely home!

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