Monday, January 25, 2010


Waiting is hard.

Especially in our high-demand, self-centered, afraid-of-pain society.

Still, even in fast-paced United States of America, some situations require waiting.

Grocery store lines, dentist offices, traffic lights.

And yet, we strive to invent ways to minimize and/or eliminate wait time (bless the DVR for giving us a way not to have to wait through TV commercials!), as if we’ll use that extra time for anything more productive (although I could make an argument for the blessed DVR… oh, and the self-checkout line at WalMart. Love that thing.).

One place you can’t avoid waiting is at the airport. Dropping off, picking up, checking in, taking off, claiming luggage – pretty much the whole process requires waiting. Even if you’re in a hurry, even if you’re late, you’ve got no choice but to wait. (haha, that rhymed. Okay, so I’m easily amused).

Moving on…

The point, though, of all the waiting is to get to your destination. And so we all choose to participate in the waiting because we’ve somewhere to go.

It’s how we wait that is key.

I’ve seen some pretty irate customers.

Sure, waiting can be tough.

It gets worse when something unexpected crops up.

How irritated do you get when that dreaded word DELAYED shows up next to your flight number? I mean, how dare them? Who cares if visibility’s zero, the plane’s got a screw loose or there were high winds in Des Moines? If my flight’s delayed, my entire schedule flies out the window!

Here’s one for you… on the plane, all buckled in, all personal electronics in the off position, sitting on or taxiing all over the tarmac, like you’re going to drive to your destination instead of fly there.

Ah, the horrors! The horrors!

Most recently for me, I experienced that other dirty phrase in the world of air travel, HOLDING PATTERN. That’s the worst. It implies an indefinite amount of waiting. It is impossible to predict its outcome. Not even a hint.

In my case, I’d already been on the plane for more than two hours, my legs (most of which gives me my 6’1 height) are screaming for a stretch, and the seat belt sign is illuminated which means no getting out of your seat for any reason because at any moment we could be called to land, which would have been okay except I’d planned to use the ladies’ room in the air port after we landed but now that we were in a holding pattern that plan seemed so, SO foolish – I almost had to warn my neighbors they might need to use the seat cushion for a floatation devise. Gives a whole new meaning to holding pattern!

On top of all that, I had a short lay over, and the time of my next flight’s departure loomed near. I had no idea how far apart the gates would be, I hadn’t eaten all day, and of course, there was the pit stop I had to make before doing anything else.

Waiting did not come easy even though I had to accept that icy runways are a reasonable excuse for delay.

Guess what?

It all turned out okay in the end.

I got my pit stop before any embarrassing accidents, I got food before I starved to death, I got a brisk walk in as I went from one end of the airport to the other (no fooling – the gates could not have been further apart) all with ten minutes to spare.

Doesn’t life feel like that sometimes?

Okay, all the time?

Is your plan or goal, your destination in life, further off than when you started?

Has the unexpected cropped up?

Do you feel delayed, like you’re taxing around or sitting on the tarmac, in a holding pattern?

Have you been waiting for something specific for what seems like forever?

Healing? A spouse? Children? Financial stability? Reconciliation? Freedom?

An answer to prayer?

I’m here to tell you, waiting is not always a bad thing. In fact, God uses waiting in our lives to teach us, draw us, protect us, mold us. Waiting shapes character.

I know, I know… when we’re in the midst of waiting, we could give a hoot about character.

But that’s where faith comes in. Trust that God is using the holding pattern to our advantage and, more importantly, to His glory.

God’s the Master Air Flight Controller. He sees things that we don’t (imagine that). He’s had a plan from the beginning of time, let alone the beginning of our lives, and He’s in perfect control.

God always has a reason. Not only a reason, but a good reason for the delays we experience.

Perhaps there’s an internal problem that needs fixed first, or maybe the runways are icy, or maybe He just wants you to learn to trust Him and His timing.

When we do, it always turns out okay in the end.

(photos by


KM Wilsher said...

Nice, Lori. I have gotten better over the years at waiting. I try to make the most of the time, read a book, balance the check register. . .
In life I can do the same thing, make the most of the time!

You are an awesome writer!

LynnRush said...

Right on, sister. When you said, "I’m here to tell you, waiting is not always a bad thing" you hit the nail on the head.

If you're waiting, seeking God's will, then waiting is never a bad thing, cuz He's workin' on you some how, some way. . .

Nice post.