Feb 2, 2012

Stuck in A Holding Pattern

Stuck in an airplane at night, somewhere between 30-50 thousand feet above the ground which I so much longed to once again to walk on. I was on an airplane flying home after being gone for a long trip. And instead of hearing the captain telling us; “Folks we are now beginning our descent”, I heard him say; “This is your captain and I want you to know that we are continuing to be in a holding pattern due to some severe thunderstorms surrounding the airport”.

He continued to let us know that we would be in a holding pattern for another twenty minutes or so and, once again reminded us passengers to keep our seat belts fastened as he warned us of some impending turbulence. This was (at least) the second time he had said this to us; ultimately we would be in this holding pattern for close to an hour. 

In time, the weather cleared and the captain came on the radio to let us know that we were indeed finally about to start our descent. Finally, after a long trip, we were back on the ground.

When my wife Cathy picked me up at the airport she described how terrible the storm had been down on the ground. The severe thunderstorms had lashed out on the city with an “apocalyptic” fury that included extremely high winds, lightning, hail, and flooding. It sounded as though it was actually calmer 30-50 thousand feet above the ground than it was below where mere mortals walk. By staying up in the air in the (multiple) holding patterns, we had been protected from some horrific storms!

When we are stuck in holding patterns it can be hard to see that we are really in the best possible place considering the circumstance. This is true for airplanes as well as life circumstances that cause us to cry out; “Really? When am I going to finally get to where I am supposed to be?” What I am referring to are those times when we have to wait for the next step and we are tired of waiting for the child we long to have, or to get married, or for the house, or the job, or simply what is the will and purpose of God for our lives.

It is during those times that we must turn to One who is greater than ourselves in order to believe that we are really in the best possible place considering the circumstance. We don’t know what storms God is protecting us from as we remain in our holding pattern!

We must look to Him to help us and let Him once again remind us: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.” -Psalm 139:17-18

And that He really does have a plan for us: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11

And wants to show us the next step: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  - Psalm 37:23-24

He wants us to: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4 NKJV)

And so, we take our seats, and fasten our seat belts, and rest as we once again remain in our holding pattern knowing that we are really in the best possible place; in the center of His will.

“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God;  Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.” (Psalm 40:1-3)

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

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