Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Holding Patterns

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” -James 1:2-3

I can’t remember when I first heard someone share about God’s “holding patterns,” but I thought the illustration was SO good, so wanted to pass it on. In these crazy times we’re in, it’s a good reminder about who is truly in control.

Many times, God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to "swallow us up." These days, it just happens to be the Corona Virus, but, over the years, God’s “instruments” to teach us have always been very creative (to say the least). 

This season in our spiritual growth is a holding pattern. We can't move to the left or the right. All we can do is sit, like Jonah sat in the belly of that great fish, so God can have our undivided attention and speak to us. God put Jonah in a holding pattern because He needed to speak to his heart. Jonah was all alone. There were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interferences, and no interruptions. He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray.

When we're deep down in the midst of a difficult situation, God can talk to us. When He has our undivided attention, He can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen. Of course, we won’t see it if we aren’t willing to look. 

I have a friend who is dealing with a difficult physical illness. There seems to be no solution to her problems. The doctors haven’t found a solution or cure. But she is holding on to the truth that God’s holding pattern is a pattern of healing and health.  

A few of God's holding patterns:  
•When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed but you're not yet healed, you are in a holding pattern.  
•When you are having problems with your children and you have put them on the altar, but God has not delivered them yet, you are in a holding pattern.  
•When you are in a broken relationship and you have given it over to God, but it has not been restored yet, you are in a holding pattern.  
•When the doors slam shut before you can even knock on them, you are in a holding pattern.  

When we are deep in the belly of a difficult situation, there are no interruptions. God has our undivided attention. All we can do is sit, think, meditate, and pray. Like Jonah, we cannot run from God, because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden from Him.  

We must remember to praise Him while we're waiting, and remember three things (even of it makes no sense):  
•The pattern has a purpose. 
•The pattern has a plan. 
•The pattern has a process.  

So, if you’re struggling, start listening, praying and trusting. He'll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, "I love you."  

Even if the circumstances don’t make sense, keep listening. Remember Job’s words in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, I will still hope in Him.” Job had lost his family, his children and his wealth. But he still had faith that God was in complete control. 

Job realizes that, ultimately, the suffering he endures is allowed by God. It is God who has the right and the power to "slay" Job. Even in the midst of his pain, Job knows that "the LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up" (1 Samuel 2:6). The Lord alone holds the "keys of death" (Revelation 1:18).

The faith of Job is seen in the fact that even if God's plan results in Job's death, Job will continue to trust in God. Nothing can shake the faith of someone so grounded in the goodness and glory of God. Job may not understand what is happening to him and why, but he knows that God is good, loving, and trustworthy. 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who arecalled according to His purpose” -Rom. 8:28

"Father, forgive my unbelief. I know you love me, and I will come to see the benefit of everything in my life, even this holding pattern. I know the fact that all is working for my good is assured through You. You have planned nothing for me, but victories and I am ready to receive them regardless of how difficult the path. 
Thank you and help me to keep holding on to You! Amen."

May that be our prayer as we struggle to make sense of life these days. Let it go and give it over to our loving, gracious Father. 

And rest in His peace.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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