Holding Patterns

When airplanes are waiting for clearance from the control tower to land at an airport, it’s common for them to be placed in a holding pattern. They will stick to that pattern until they are given the go ahead to land. They don’t stop. They don’t divert to another airport (unless they are told to). They simply wait.

Waiting. Not sure I know anyone who likes to do it, but it’s something that we all face. Traffic. Grocery store lines. Amusement parks. Test results. Answers. We wait for a lot of things.

I seem to find myself coming back to the theme of waiting over and over again. Maybe I didn’t learn enough the first thousand times that I spent waiting. Maybe there’s something new that needs to be learned that can only be learned by waiting. Whatever the reason might be, I can point to many times in my life when I am in a holding pattern.

I have a friend who has been in a holding pattern for quite some time. He is a missionary, approved to go to the field, but his support has not come in. He has had a heart for the country to which he is going for as long as I have known him, which is around 15 years or so. He is waiting, holding on, longing to be given the go ahead to go and fulfill the passion that God has given him.

We grow weary when we wait for some things and if we really stop to think about it, we probably get a little too uptight about things which aren’t nearly as significant as we think that they are. When you have to wait for something, you begin to find out how much you really value it….or even don’t value it. Waiting either seems worthwhile or it doesn’t, we come to that conclusion while we’re waiting.

No bones about it, I hate waiting. I want things when I want them. I am a product of my culture, of my environment, and that’s not something that I’m particularly proud of. I understand my own impatience and the “NOW” mentality that I have embraced far more than I should. Impatience leads to rushing and rushing leads to mistakes or bad decisions.

So, I wait. I sit in my holding pattern. I take in the scenery as I pass it by the first time, the second time, the third time, and every other subsequent time that I pass it on my way to being given the go ahead to move on. I don’t like it, but I know how much I’ve learned while I’ve been taking in that scenery. I know the character development that has taken place along those holding patterns. I wouldn’t choose them, but I would rarely choose anything that would be hard and difficult or time consuming. Results rarely come immediately, and so, we enter into our holding patterns.

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