Eternal Holding Pattern

B.T. Higgins

“Air traffic control. This is flight 362. Requesting permission to land.”

“362. This is air traffic control. Permission denied. Please circle at ten thousand feet at this time.” I stay at ten thousand feet. I circle again. I argue with the Maker as I orbit the airport in a long lazy pattern. Again and again, waiting for permission to land. Never landing. I can see all the places I want to visit once I finally arrive. There are streams of cars and trucks with their lights illuminating the busy city streets with white and red. They seem so happy. They can go where they want and do the same.

“I don’t like this delay,” I complain to the Maker. “I have so many dreams. Places I will go. Things I will do. I am tired of being in this holding pattern. I want to put down my wheels and land.”

Day after day, I circle. My dreams are below me, so close I can taste them. So easy. I don’t understand why I can’t land. As I circle I make lists of everything I will do when I land. Making plans, but never accomplishing. Never doing. I grow anxious. I become dissatisfied with this eternal holding pattern. I complain. I blame the Maker. I rage. Nothing will ever change.

Time passes. All my dreams are rotting on the vine. My internal monologue is boring even to me. My accusations of persecution ring hollow. Finally, I stop. And ask, “Maker, what do you have planned for me?”

“You will be a tree planted by a stream of water, yielding your fruit in season. Your leaves will not wither. You will prosper in everything you do.”

“What? Are you joking? Are you taunting me? I’ve been trying to get started with prospering forever, and you have me stuck in this eternal holding pattern over the airport. Then you tell me I will prosper in everything I do? You won’t let me do, anything. How can you say that to me, when I can’t even put down my wheels and land?”

The Maker sighs and comes close. “Do you feel the wind? Close your eyes and really feel it.”

“Yes, of course I feel the wind. I am an airplane. The air is what holds me up. I am always feeling the wind.”

“That is what you have always believed, but it is not true,” says the Maker. He reaches out and opens my eyes. I mean, really opens them. For the first time, I see what I am. I am a tree not an airplane. I shudder in disbelief. The wind rustles my leaves and makes my branches sway. How could I have not known this? All these years.

I see the bustling city far below me for I am growing on a precipice, exposed to the wind and weather. Airplanes circle over my head and land, every few minutes, for I am aligned with the runway. I can see the air traffic control tower.

“I am not an airplane. I am a tree,” I say in utter shock.

“I planted you here,” the Maker says. “By this stream, so that your roots could grow deep into the mountain. And you would yield much fruit.”

I watch the airplanes landing. I see the bustling traffic far below. Then I feel my roots deep in this rocky soil. I feel the wind rustling my leaves. And for the first time, I hear the music of that sound. Rustling. That beautiful symphony of wind and leaf.

I see that everything I had believed and struggled for was delusion. I am a tree planted by a stream of water bearing fruit in season. I wonder and dream what my fruit might be. I put down my roots into the ground and drink from the living water.

Digging Deeper

When I understand what I am,

I can see my purpose.


“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Psalms 1:3

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:21

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:13


Discussion Questions

  1. What plans and dreams do you have that seem like they will never happen?
  2. How do your unfulfilled hopes and expectations affect your life?
  3. How would it change you to know your Maker has a beautiful plan for your and is intimately working toward its fulfillment?

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