Holding Patterns: A Season of Waiting

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“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” ~ Psalm 27:13

We sat in the same cramped seats we’d been in for eight hours when the message came over the speakers. A delay on the runway would keep us circling the airport for a “short period of time”, would we please have patience and stay in our seats? We felt travel weary already, but another snack from our bags and a flip through the airplane’s movie stations helped distract us from the delay to our destination. This strategy worked for the first two announcements. When the in-flight radar map showed us flying over an entirely different state than the one in which we were landing, I started to get antsy. By the third announcement, I got anxious. By the fourth, I felt downright angry.

Holding patterns tend to have this effect on me. At first I’m all, hey let’s distract ourselves with a Reese’s peanut butter cup and a Ben Affleck movie. But when delay leads to delay leads to delay without a suitable explanation, I start to feel angry. The seat feels more constricting than before. And obviously my legs grew while waiting because the room between my seat and the next one seems suspiciously less accommodating. The noises become louder, the seatbelt chafes, and everyone around me seems hell-bent on behavior I find extremely annoying–like handling the situation with grace and, unlike myself, not passive-aggressively complaining.

My husband and I are currently living in a season of waiting. We describe it as a holding pattern of sorts, as if God broadcasted over the speaker of our life–Delay ahead. Grab a snack and a settle in for that movie. All those things you planned for at your destination? Forget them for the foreseeable future. We’re holding.

It chafes, friends. A season of waiting squeezes uncomfortably tight on hearts that want room to land, room to stretch, room to run wild and free. It’s caused us to take a step back, and revisit our decisions. Delays have led us to dig deeper into our motives, question our plans, and lean harder into our prayers. We sense very little in the way of divine intervention, and it seems as if the connection’s gone silent. We wait and we wonder if it holds any meaning.

As we wait, we place our hope in the fact that this holding pattern is in itself a destination–a destination that requires patience and faith-building. Every decision we made led us here, and while we hold for our final place of landing, we remain confident that regardless of how long it takes, regardless of how the desires may need to change, regardless of hearts that feel strapped and bound tight, we have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. We have seen his goodness, and even when he’s silent, we know there is more goodness ahead. He has not failed us yet.


Have you found yourself in a holding pattern recently with some of your hopes and dreams for your future? Where are you seeing God’s goodness even in times of waiting?