One of the worst announcements one can receive while flying is that the plane is in a “holding pattern,” whether in the air or on the runway (which actually may be the worse of the two). The most frustrating part of that scenario is that your life comes to a halt, and the entirety of the situation, and the continuation of your journey, is completely out of your control. There is nothing you can do to solve the issue, and no amount of expended effort will alter or hurry the outcome. You simply need to sit and wait. Having been in a holding pattern recently in my own life, I found that there isn’t a lot you can do to hurry the process. What adds to the situation is that often times you are not told why your life is in this holding pattern, what factors have led to this moment, and which will lead you out of it. Conversations are being held and decisions are being made without your participation, people and things are somehow influencing the withholding of answers, and the timeframe is undecided to the point that it could end in minutes or last forever. You can’t even contribute to solving the issue because you have no idea where to begin. There are no decisions that can be made on your end: you are just waiting. When we find that we don’t have much choice in altering anything, we are then faced with a decision: what do we do with ourselves while we are waiting for answers? We tend to turn inward and downward at these times. It’s very easy for depression and despair to creep in, as the lack of answers can be frustrating and infuriating, and we spend that time choosing to wallow in misery and self-pity. But there are other choices beyond these negative ones that we can make during times of the unknown. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, amongst several lessons, He preaches to the crowds how to act when your life has lost its forward momentum: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7.7 NLT). A time of waiting for answers doesn’t mean we stop what we’re doing. Waiting should not and need not lack productivity: choose to be constructive with that time and continue in your walk with God. According to Jesus’ words, there are three things to do while you wait: ask, seek, and knock (or pray, explore, and act). As we wait for answers, we can be seeking God in meditation, praying without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5.17), no matter what the circumstances. Don’t shut others out; open the lines of communication between you and God. Then, we can spend that down time exploring our faith through study, looking to broaden and enrich it, seeking Him in all things for the sole purpose of growing as a follower. Finally, we can act out our faith, taking small steps to walk in the ways that are revealed to us, knocking instead of laying dormant. We may not be approaching the answers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress. We can’t focus on solving the problem, but we can focus on improving ourselves for the sake of our relationship with God. When you find yourself without answers, see that time as an opportunity for growth. Ask, seek, and knock, instead. A holding pattern doesn’t mean you have to put your life and faith on hold. Amen.