I stumbled upon The Daily Encourager about two years ago, and it has really helped me in times of epic crisis, and even on normal days too. The Daily Encourager is a daily email service provided by David Langerfeld of Harrisburg Baptist, and it is one of the most uplifting things that’s ever reached my inbox.
This is one of my favorite daily encourager messages– ironically it’s an Encourager Classic too. Enjoy.
Encourager Classic: “Holding Patterns”
Many times, God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to “swallow us up.” 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.
A few of God’s holding patterns:
1. When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed but you’re not yet healed, you are in a holding pattern.
2. 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.
3. When you have been praying for a loved one to return to God, and they have not come back yet, you are in a holding pattern.
4. 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.
5. 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:
1. The pattern has a purpose.
2. The pattern has a plan.
3. The pattern has a process.
So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting. He’ll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, “I love you.”
Suggested Prayer: 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, and the manifestation of 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.
Over the past two years I’ve really enjoyed and utilized that prayer– it’s a good one.
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Sarah Jean Lima Bean