When God Puts You in a Holding Pattern

holding-patternLisa is having foot reconstruction surgery today and will be hospitalized just 24 hours and the resting, elevating, and icing in coming weeks. She will do her best to respond to messages but may be delayed a bit.

When you keep asking to land and have a life outside of your circumstances, and God says ‘wait,’ how do you remain steadfast? Lisa shares.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7).

Last week my son needed a hug. The chaos of our home as I prepared for foot surgery and weeks of immobility added a new layer of stress to the typical day for each member of our family. He wasn’t upset about something–just everything–life. I sat down on his bed and held him close.

“Oh, hon…” I said. “This isn’t the life I want for you right now. This isn’t the life I want for Dad. I don’t know what God is doing, but I know He is taking care of us. We are just in a holding pattern.”

Have you felt like that frequently on your journey through chronic illness? I explained, “I wish I knew what God is doing. We all want to land somewhere and get on with life. God is taking care of us–He is refueling us while we are flying around up here. We aren’t crashing! But we aren’t getting anywhere either. But God is going to do something. He knows eventually this plan has to land!”

Holding pattern: “a state of waiting or suspended activity or progress.”

That is what life feels like right now. My husband is still in school. My son is being homeschooled. My illness continues to progress. Each of these hold “the best of times” and “the worst of times.”

But what is the plan? None of this is the “abundant life” God intends for us to have (John 10:10).

What I know for sure it that God will never leave us or forsake us. And if this I am certain, God never suspends our lives–it just feels that way.

He is active in ways we cannot see. He is preparing the landing strip–complete with new pavement, but also a band, a grandstand, a snack bar, and even a parade, because He is a God who gives “more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

To be still before the Lord, as this Psalm says, means holding firm to faith when feeling stuck in the holding pattern. It means not doubting God is at work, perhaps even in party-planning mode, while we feel invisible behind the clouds.

My instinct is to want to radio down to the controllers and demand a landing strip right now. My personality style would be to try to land and trll God that if He doesn’t want that he can prevent the landing gear from working.

But I am trying to grow beyond my instinctive responses and rely on my faith. I can’t wait to see what God will do when I choose to not get in the way, thereby allow my impatience to alter His best plan for my family.

Prayer: Lord, my life seems to be on a different path from people I know in nearly every way. I struggle not to compare and desire that ‘normal’ life. Remind me that patience is rewarded by You, especially when it seems You are not at work at all. Help me find peace when I am in that holding pattern and waiting to see where You will have me land. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and has so been appreciating your kindnesses, notes, emails, prayers, and even donations for our ministry. She is having foot surgery as this posts and is hoping for a smooth recovery and to enjoy toes that no longer point directly north. Hugs to you.

Have you experienced seasons when it felt like God would never allow your chaotic life to calm down? To just let you get out of the holding pattern and land? What did you rely on in order to be patient during these times?

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