Dealing with the Discouragement of a Detour

Airplane Wing“This is your captain speaking. Air traffic control has placed us in a holding pattern.”

That is not what I wanted to hear!

Circling the airport involves delay and sometimes, uncertainty.

But, I knew the air traffic controllers could see the entire situation from their vantage point. I believed the pilot was communicating with the tower about the remaining amount of fuel.  And, I expected to eventually land safely.

If we could just give God that much credit when our lives are in a holding pattern!

If we could just realize that He sees the big picture, He has a good plan, He knows how much we can handle, and He is willing to direct us if we will stay in communication with Him.

Why does it sometimes seem easier to trust skilled human beings than our Sovereign God who sees, hears, and knows all?

Holding patterns often seem like a waste of time. 

From a human vantage point, progress isn’t being made unless we reach our destination without any circling or backtracking.  From God’s viewpoint, that just isn’t true.

Consider Joseph.

His “circular path” blessed many.

Joseph went from favored son to slave to Pharaoh’s favored assistant, and finally once again to the position of beloved son reunited with his father.  Why this path?  Joseph explained the seemingly unfortunate path to his brothers this way,

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; [but] God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive.” Gen 50:20 NKJV     

Joseph’s circular path actually ended up blessing many people.

Consider Jericho.

The people of Israel marched their “circular” path in faith for seven days and experienced victory.

“It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” Heb 11:30 NLT

What were they doing while in a holding pattern?  They were marching “by faith.”  It sounds a lot like our assignment. “ … we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2Co 5:7 NKJV

Consider David.

The psalms written during David’s “holding pattern” reveal the development of his character and trust in God.

David had to wait fifteen years after being anointed to become king of Judah and even longer to take his position as king of Israel. He wrote many psalms during that waiting period which now encourage me during times of waiting in my own life.

Consider the Israelite’s.

They wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Finally, they had “circled” long enough.

“You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north,” Deuteronomy 2:3 NASB

The “holding pattern” can never become our comfort zone.

There is a time to leave it!

This past week at the She Speaks 2016 conference, Lysa Terkheurst quoting form her new book, Uninvited, said, “The tweaking of us by
God in the quiet is the saving of us in public.”

What a difference it would make to view “holding patterns” as tweaking periods of preparation for the perfect landing, at the perfect time.


Lord, we wait for You and our hope is in You and in the promises of Your Word.

“Lord, what do I wait for? My hope [is] in You.” Psa 39:7 NKJV    

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.” Psa 130:5 NKJV

Father, we ask You to…

  • Lead us and teach us while we wait.      

“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You [are] the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” Psa 25:5 NKJV

  • Help us wait with integrity and avoid shortcuts around Your plan.

“May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” Psa 25:21 NLT

What encourages you during times of waiting?  I would love to hear from you!

Your DoAhead Friend,


About Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher is a mother of 3 sons (and yes, she’s lived to tell about it!), a grandmother, first grade teacher, speaker, writer, and Bible study teacher. Her writing and speaking are infused with God’s Word, humor, and often, “what just happened.” Lauren's deepest desire is to encourage other women to love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, and mind. Lauren is a monthly contributor at DoAhead Woman.


  1. Suzanne Koonce says:

    Holding patterns are a big part of the “golden years of our lives”! Through faith ,prayer and hope we are preparing for that known future.Thank you for your encouragements through words and scripture reminders.

    • Your reference of preparing for the “known future” through faith, hope, and prayer is beautiful. Love you! Lauren

  2. Ten days ago, God knew I would need this message. Thank you for sharing. I love how He knows, and I am encouraged by your faithfulness.

    • Laurie, it never ceases to amaze me how attentive God is like that. He just knows! So grateful Lauren’s words were the form of encouragement He used for you. Blessings to you. I’ll be praying for you today. 🙂

Speak Your Mind