We were about thirty minutes outside Washington D.C. when the pilot addressed the plane. Something about weather blocking our path to Reagan National Airport. Waiting for it to pass. Plenty of fuel.
And then we began the circling, skimming the edge of huge, cumuli-nimbus clouds, puffy and reflecting the softening light of the setting sun.
As we circled, I found myself glancing out the window every minute or so. There was something awe-inspiring about watching the oranges of the sunset through the openings below the clouds. To see the huge cumuli-nimbus clouds ascending into he sky and the softening colors of the sun on the puffs where I was. And spotting lightning flashes inside the dark gray of the clouds.
These reminded me how important it was to respect our limitations in light of the storm.
We had somewhere to be, but this storm prevented us from getting there.
Sunlight streaked the higher level clouds with oranges, then periwinkle, and eventually dark gray.
Our lives are sometimes like this. We find ourselves in a holding pattern. Maybe we’re waiting for God to answer a request. Or for a hardship to reach its end—to stop raining on us—and for the sun to come out again.
Or, we’re in the middle of that storm, trying to make sense of what God’s allowing in our lives.
Sometimes, God places us in a holding pattern because He is working a change of perspective in our hearts.
Sometimes, holding patterns protect us from something dangerous on the perimeter of our lives. Something we may not see yet, but that our Father sees.
Sometimes we skirt the edges of the storm, not quite immersed in it, but very aware of its presence.
Other times, we have to fly though the tumult to arrive to our final destination.
And sometimes, we are diverted. For our protection.
As our plane carved out very large 360’s in the sky, the tower and our pilot talked of possibly diverting us to Richmond, a couple hours’ car ride away. Because a plane can only carry so much fuel. And the storm was not dissipating.
What do we do when storms derail our plans?
Lightning blazed in the clouds, becoming more brilliant as nighttime gently overtook daylight.
The sky darkened to indigo above us, blending into lighter blues and a deep orange at the horizon. The first star peeked out. The storm clouds held their territory in the sky, preventing us from descending.
We have a choice in how we handle changes to our plans.
We can get bent out of shape because God had the audacity to inconvenience us.
We can see the change as an adventure (Ahem, I’m not very good at this).
We can view the change for what it is…a chance to trust our Father to protect us.
When we choose to have flexible hearts in the midst of the unexpected, we will weather those storms with less stress.
When we ride the edges of the storm, and we have no control, can we yield to our Father’s will?
As we circled, people who had sat isolated beside each other began to talk about our shared predicament.
I prayed. Being diverted was not in my plans. How would we meet our family in the morning? How would we pick up the rental car we’d reserved? Where would we stay the night?
All of these questions had God’s answers. I just didn’t know what they were yet.
As turbulence bubbled beneath our plane, I knew God’s hand held us. I just didn’t know how He planned to end this particular “adventure.”
What about when God’s holding pattern lands us in unfamiliar territory? What will we choose?
As we waited and circled, I prayed for God’s will, but also expressed my wishes.
Sometimes, we end up where we expected to land, which is how our story ended. But, had we diverted to Richmond, I would have accepted His plan and flexed with it.
No matter what’s happening in our lives, we always have the choice to trust Him . . . or not.
Trusting our Father doesn’t immunize us from experiencing fear, from asking those questions that roil in our thoughts.
But, when we bring them all to the feet of the One who loves us most, we will come to the place where we walk through the storm in peace. Because we know Who is ultimately in control.
And we know that He brings good from the storms He allows into our lives.
What about you? How do you flex when plans are derailed? What’s one lesson you’ve learned when God landed you in a place other than you expected?
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I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and Holley Gerth