When life has you in a holding pattern


Some of you gentle readers have piloted a plane. Most of us have been a passenger in a plane. Did you ever have to fly in a holding pattern? One time I was flying out of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. We climbed to 10,000 feet and then started banking, turning back to the airport. We circled LaGuardia for about 20 minutes. When we landed, the pilot said there had been a problem and we had to circle while they dumped all the fuel so, if we crash-landed, well, you get the picture.  

Maybe you’re metaphorically in a holding pattern right now in your life.  You just can’t seem to get where you want to go. Maybe you’re sick and just can’t get well. Maybe you’re upset with what’s going on the world. Maybe you’ve been praying for the salvation of a friend or loved one and it just hasn’t happened yet. Or maybe, like my father used to say, “I just don’t know what to expect next.” 

Instead of worrying, instead of being frustrated, look at your holding pattern this way: God has your undivided attention.  You can’t run from God. You can’t hide from God.  So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting.  Remember three things: the holding pattern you’re in has a purpose, a plan and a process.

Think about how a pilot lands a plane in the dark. How in the world does he know how to land the plane safely?      Right! Runway lights. When the pilot can see the runway lights, he knows he’ll be landing in the center of the runway.   So here are four runway lights that you can use in making a decision and being confident it’s God’s will for you. 

The confirmation of God’s word. When making a decision, look first to God’s holy word. Can you find an event or verses that apply to your situation? Look at your Bible’s concordance for the topic. Then read and study to see if God is speaking to you through his Word. If you think what you’d like to do is contrary to what you read in the Bible, then don’t do it.

Your inner conviction….your instinct…what your conscience tells you. You know what that little voice is inside you, don’t you? It’s the Holy Spirit. It’s not a “little birdie.” It’s God’s Holy Spirit guiding you. Listen to what we call your heart. That’s God inside you guiding you.

Practical circumstances of your decision. Make a list of the pros and cons. Examine the question: “what’s the worst that can happen if I do x or if I do y?” Do you begin to see doors that might be opening or closing? What impact will your decision have on others – your family or


The counsel of Godly, Christian friends. Seek the counsel of Christian brothers and sisters you trust. Go through your list of pros and cons and what you think your decision options are. Ask them to pray for you and your decision.  

In Psalm 25, we read:  “Good and upright is the Lord.  He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”  

No matter how bleak your life looks. No matter how depressing your circumstances. Even if you seem to be in a long holding pattern, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Turn to the one who has the answers. Don’t rely on yourself to fix your problems. Turn to God. Pray. Ask. Surrender. Admit you can’t do it in your own power but acknowledge and ask God to

help you. 

Find a church that worships God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Find a church that honors the supremacy of God’s Word – the Bible. And then let go and let God. 

Rev. Dale L. Chrisman is Rector of Trinity Anglican Church which just moved into its new building at 18900 FM 1431, five miles west of Cedar Park and Leander. TrinityChurchLagoVista.org.