Held Back

I walked down the aisle and found my seat. I sat down and stared out the window as the early morning sun streamed across the wing. The glare of the sun was bright, but I watched as the ground crew busied themselves with pre-flight duties. I was ready to get home. This was the second flight of a two flight journey that would bring me home after two weeks overseas. My husband and I had just landed an hour before from a red eye overnight flight and we were both tired.

It was then that the pilot broke the silence and informed us that there was a slight delay due to waiting on bags from connecting flights. I breathed a sigh of relief, as I thought, well, maybe the bags are from our flight. So, I guess I don’t mind the wait.

A few minutes later the captain once again spoke, and yet there would be another delay. This time for aircraft maintenance. A seal needed checking. It is at these times that I am glad to be traveling with my husband, an FAA aviation mechanic. He turned to me and said”It’s probably a door seal” What!? yeah I think that would be important at 30,000 feet. Better check that before we take off. So, I didn’t really mind the delay. I was glad they were holding back the flight. As much as I wanted to get back home and rest from my jet lag, a delay for safety was understandable.

But, I have to admit, I don’t like delays to my plans, otherwise. I like everything to follow my action plan, without delays. My plans, my way, in my time table. Funny thing is, that is not how this world works. I apparently, am not in charge, even though I deceive myself into thinking that way at times.

Have you ever felt like something was just holding back your progress? Whether at work, life status, or spiritually? We want to make our plans and stick with them, but many times we might feel like it is one step forward and two steps backwards. Part of the focus of this blog is to explore growing in faith through the challenges of life. And there will be challenges in this life. We simply cannot escape them. Life is full of change. We grow as babies into children, into preteens, young adults, adults, and finally senior adults. There are many changes and challenges. Likewise, we grow as Christians from baby,into newbies, and then into mature Christians. But this journey takes the rest of our lives. It is not a quick growth track. God uses all of our challenges to mature our faith. He has a plan to help us in our journey. And it is always in His timing.

When I think about timing and the Bible, I think about two stories of two different Bible characters. Character might not be the right term, because these involve real people, not just fiction characters.

The first is from the book of Ester. If you are familiar with this story, then you might recall a well quoted verse from the book. “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” This is an often repeated verse from Ester’s uncle, Mordecai. Mordecai was attempting to encourage Ester to go forward and meet with her husband, the King, in order to reverse a law that would have wiped out the Jewish people, Ester’s people. Ester, a Jewish young woman had been chosen to be Queen after a long preparation time. It is an interesting account of faith and trust in God’s provision and His timing.

The second I am reminded of is from the Book of Acts and involves the Apostle Paul. Acts 16:7 records this; “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (NIV) Luke, the author of the book adds; “So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.” (vs. 8) I’ve always wondered why they were allowed to go to Mysia and just how were they stopped. No clear explanation is given, but later we read that Paul had a vision after this that called him to Macedonia. Still, it is one of those interesting passages to consider.

The first example is clear it was the right time for Ester to speak up and perhaps was the very reason why she was chosen as Queen, instead of other women who were also in the running for the position of Queen. It was the right timing. In the second example of Paul, it clearly wasn’t the right timing or the right place, so they were held back from visiting Mysia ( now Turkey).

We might find ourselves in a situation in which God says you are where you need to be ( the right place, for such a time as this) or even: not now, wait, this isn’t the right time or place (being held back) just like my flight home. What I couldn’t understand, sitting there, waiting to taxi out, the pilot knew, the ground crew knew, and the mechanics knew. I just did not know. I could only speculate. I was just waiting for it to be the right time to move forward.

That is the thing about our faith journey, we do not fully understand why there are delays. But, God knows. Maybe we are not yet ready for the next growth step. Or maybe the others around us are not ready.

If you’ve ever been grounded on board a plane, you probably waited it out, trusting the pilots, crew and ground mechanics. So to speak you placed your complete trust in them. You had to, unless of course you know how to fly the plane yourself, but even then you would need to wait. And by the way, on our flight, there were other pilots and crew onboard, flying as passengers to their next airport assignment. They could have taken over, because they were qualified. (How many times do we think we can take over for God and can manage our own lives?) But, without the mechanical go ahead, and the place in line to take off down the runway, even the other pilots on board had to just sit and wait it out. We were all held back for a few minutes on that flight.

Trusting God should be as easy as trusting pilots and mechanics with getting our flights safely off the ground. The struggle we have, or at least I think I have is letting go of my own control of my life and my time table. I want to go ahead and fly my own plane, so to speak. And most of the time I do not understand the hold backs in my life. I probably won’t fully understand most of them until I can personally ask Jesus why someday. But, by then I probably won’t care. So, if you are like me, then let’s just pray for each other to stop and quiet our busy thoughts that drive us crazy about why life feels like we are being held back. Remember its not our timing, but God’s. We might not fully understand, but we can sit back and trust God. God Bless You – Nancy

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A Christian writer and teacher who loves to encourage and challenge believers in their walk with Christ. I am a graduate of Liberty University and the proud wife of an Air Force veteran and the mom of three grown adults.

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