Trusting God in a holding pattern

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Last month my family and I moved to a new town. Each member of the family dealt with the move differently. At first I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Quite honestly, it felt like I went kicking and screaming internally the whole time. I was thankful that I only moved one town over from where I had previously lived; however, I had only ever lived in that town so the transition was hard at first.

Naturally, like with any move, I had to get used to new things. My surroundings were new, the neighbors were new, my daily routine changed, and learning to drive new routes was challenging. Very challenging… In fact this was probably one of the most challenging changes for me.
Confession: I am terrible with directions. In fact I think I may have spatial awareness issues! I just don’t understand all the different highways, intersections, interstates etc. I understand landmarks, but not roads. So driving the past few weeks has been interesting to say the least. I’ve taken so many wrong exits so many times I must have circled three or four towns. After finding myself driving down the same road without making it to my destination I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. 

“God,” I said. “This feels like my life right now! I feel like I’m going around in circles trying to figure out what to do and where to go. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern!” I prayed. 

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like you were going around in circles, trying to navigate new roads without any clue where to turn? It’s easy to laugh off our mistakes when other people are around, or even defend ourselves but deep down our hearts can feel the discouragement. 
God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were once in a similar situation. After being enslaved in Egypt under a harsh ruler, then being set free by God’s mighty hand of power, and having to wander the desert wilderness for forty years due to disobedience, God’s chosen people were finally ready to inherit the Promised Land. 

The Promised Land was precisely what it sounds like, a land promised to them by God. But their move also included many challenges, changes and new beginnings. In fact, before crossing over the Jordan River to get to the Promised Land, God told the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant (where God’s Presence was) before the people so that they could follow Him. 

After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.” Joshua 3:2-4

They crossed the River because God parted it, just as He did the Red Sea and all the Israelites crossed over. (I personally love that they set up a landmark after they got to the other side in order that they would remember what God had done. I certainly can relate to recognizing landmarks!) 

Then a little later on after crossing, they came to a city called Jericho It was walled off to keep out other people. Joshua the leader of the Israelites told all the mighty men of valor to march around the city one time each day for six days. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times. On the seventh day also they were to blow seven rams’ horns and the walls of the city would fall down.

Really? No charging the city by force or trying to tear down the walls on their own? Just march in circles? But you know what? Joshua obeyed God and the walls did fall down. The Israelites conquered not only the city of Jericho, but many other cities promised to them as well. How did they do it? They followed God, listened to Him and trusted Him. They didn’t try to figure everything out on their own. They didn’t question what God was doing even though they too were walking in circles. They were in a holding pattern. Thankfully though, holding patterns don’t last forever.

This history in the Bible really resonated with me. Perhaps it resonates with you too. I don’t like to wait. In fact I’m still working in this area of patience. Patience means more than waiting though. Patience means trusting that God has it all figured out and that He knows where we are supposed to walk. We don’t always understand what He’s doing but He merely asks us to trust Him and wait for His perfect timing. His ways are certainly higher than our own. 

I encourage you to trust the Lord with whatever it is you’re trying to figure out. You may be in a holding pattern for a period of time and that’s ok. God is working on your behalf. 

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, Who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. Isaiah 64:4

I’m learning to trust God more. The new routine has gotten easier, my surroundings are more normal to me and I’ve met some new neighbors as well! I still need my GPS to navigate different routes, but I’m grateful that even without my GPS I always have God’s Presence with me. He’s not in the ark like He was with the Israelites, but He’s all around me and living in my heart. 

God is present with all of His children; leading, guiding and loving them.

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