“I’m sorry, all of our customer service representatives are busy assisting others at the moment. Please hold, and your call will be answered in the order it was received…”
Seriously, are there any words more frustrating when you are needing assistance than those offensive words of, “Please hold”? While I have been placed “on hold” several times throughout the years, I do believe my run-in yesterday tops the list for longest-phone-hold-to-date. It literally took me more than 4 1/2 straight hours before the issue was resolved and the coveted airline tickets were purchased with a savings voucher my husband earned a few weeks back when he volunteered to take a flight bump. (I now understand why folks are so hesitant to surrender their seats. It’s not the inconvenience of the delayed flight so much as it is the frustration of later trying to redeem the “special deal” you were promised.)
The only thing more frustrating than being placed on hold while on the telephone is when that same scenario plays itself out in life. Things are going along just fine; you’re comfortable in your job; settled in your ministry; family life is a daily routine of activities and events. Then suddenly, for no obvious reason, things change. Life is interrupted with a “holding pattern,” and much like a plane caught in the currents of an unexpected storm, you are left “circling” above the runway. Holding… holding… and holding for the next break in the storm so you can comfortably land and go back to life as usual. And perhaps that is the very reason God likes to shake us up with a “hold.” He doesn’t want for us to become too comfortable in this life.
Becoming too comfortable in this life means we may have lost sight of the life that is to come. Becoming too comfortable in ministry may suggest we are precariously close to forgetting that it is God who ministers through us, and not we ourselves. Becoming too comfortable with our family routine may indicate that we are taking each other for granted. So God steps in to shake things up by placing our comfortable life “on hold.” Suddenly, what made perfect sense to us just yesterday no longer seems as clear. The ministry that was previously so fulfilling no longer seems to offer the same sense of satisfaction as it once did. In short, God pulls us to the sidelines and asks for us to wait on Him to do something “other.”
And while a needed rest is always refreshing, an enforced nap can be quite unsettling. Or at least disappointing. No one wants to be banished to the sidelines when the game is being played on the field. After all, where’s the productivity in that? And once again, we find our focus has honed in on producing in attempts to attain a soul satisfaction that is found only in being with the Master. While it is unsettling to be unsettled, sometimes it is exactly what our Father knows we need. For in the “holding,” we take the time to look at things with greater clarity. We pause to more closely observe the people and happenings around us than when we are caught up in a blur of activity.
If you are finding your life “on hold” at the moment, I encourage you to stop fighting against it. Stop attempting to fill the void with activity. Stop sitting on the edge of your seat anxiously tapping your foot in anticipation of putting down the landing gears. Simply stop. Instead, I urge you to do as my friendly airline representative encouraged me while I was waiting on his computer to process my request: “Place your phone on speaker mode and go make a cup of coffee to enjoy while I work through this.”
Don’t try to rush the process, simply allow God to work through this.
All those plans He has in store for you? They are on the way. But until they arrive, enjoy the rest. Right now, that is the plan. Because when it’s your turn to get into the game again, you’ll need to hit the ground running for all you’re worth. In the meantime, hang tight with your heavenly coach and allow Him to pilot your course. You’re in for an awesome destination… it’s guaranteed.