Life in God’s Holding Pattern


Saturday I got some messages from a friend in Australia saying that he was praying for me, and my return. In them he brought up the fact that many Christians like myself find themselves in a “holding pattern” [1]

There are few things more frustrating than wanting to do something, but not being able to because of God’s intervention. A friend of mine recently described it as “having ten pieces of a twelve piece puzzle and you can never get those last two pieces!”

He had devoted almost all of his time and energy to finding those elusive pieces, but they always seemed just out of his grasp. I could totally relate to what he was saying since tons of my energy had been invested in gaining those final pieces for my return to Australia, only to come up empty-handed.

It took me a while to realize the way to escape God’s holding pattern (waiting period) isn’t to chase missing pieces since God will provide those in His time. Instead we are called to walk through the door that He HAS opened.

Because God loves me He has my best interest in mind. This means sometimes He will refuse to give me what I want (in this case returning to Australia) because it isn’t whats best for me at that time [2]. In those situations He will offer another opportunity or door that IS best for me.”

In a deeper sense these holding pattern experiences help us wait on the Lord. Most of the time in my impatience I will run ahead of God (relying on my own strength or wisdom) which of course only ends in disaster. Holding patterns force me to stay close.

As a child I had a very short attention span, and this caused some serious problems when working with my father. He is an individual who likes to do jobs in a slow step-by-step manner (the best way to do them) and I preferred to rush out and complete them as quickly as possible.

On Saturdays dad would list step one in his five step plan for a job and I would almost always start walking away. Eventually after this was repeated for steps two, three, and four a new rule was instituted…wait till he says I can go.

During my childhood years that rule seemed ridiculous. I mean seriously in the time he described the job number one could be completed! It didn’t take long to learn however that there was a huge difference between my idea of “getting a job done” and my fathers.

The point is dad knew that allowing his ten-year old son to run off and do the job as quickly as possible wasn’t the right way to do things. So he forced me (and I do mean forced me) to sit down and wait patiently so that the job could be done the right way.

The same way God knows that in my heart I’m still that impatient ten-year old who wants to run ahead of him and take care of things on my own. And this is why He brings waiting periods or holding patterns into my life.

  1. They keep me close to Him
  2. They ensure things are done in God’s timing
  3. And eventually I learn things done His way are best

Holding patterns are never fun. Somedays I still revert to my childhood responses of deep-sighing, eye-rolling, and impatient tapping of the foot. Yet just as I know doings things my fathers way is much better than going back and doing it again, I know my Heavenly Father has my best interests in mind.

  1. waiting for God to open a particular door  ↩
  2. I’m honestly not sure what God has for the delay, but trust His leading  ↩

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