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Holding Patterns and Patience

Last year I wrote about a pair of osprey and a pair of Canada geese that were making their home in two large nests atop the frame of the old Robertson Bridge.

When the new bridge was built, the old steel frame was left because of the nesting of the osprey. It was protected. It was amazing to watch these two species of birds cohabitate those first two summers.

This summer was a different story, however.

In mid to late spring a lone Canada goose arrived. The old goose nest had been destroyed over the winter, but the osprey nest was still somewhat intact. That goose stood beside the osprey nest for three days. Then the goose sat in the nest for the next week or so, just waiting. It tugged at my heart strings.

Canada geese mate for life. If one of the pair dies, the surviving goose will mourn and may, or may not, eventually find another mate. I felt like that is what I was witnessing. One day the goose was gone, not to return.

But it gets even more mysterious.

I kept waiting for the osprey to return. Day after day. Week after week and now month after month, waiting. It is mid-August and they have not returned. I have no expectation that they will at this late date.

I read that although ospreys mate for life, they spend the winter apart, reuniting at the nest site each spring. The male returns from mid-March to mid-April prior to the female and will begin to repair any damage that might have occurred to the nest during their absence. He never showed. Where are they? What happened? I will never know the answer to those questions, but I think about the waiting.

I remember as a kid waiting for my birthday or waiting for Christmas or waiting for summer vacation. Time seemed to drag, and I admit I was not always as patient as I should have been.

Now that I am older and realize how fast time passes by, I am more content to wait for the next birthday. I am in no hurry for Christmas to roll around again (It seems I just took the tree down.) The only thing I am truly most impatient for is the return of Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 says we are waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Do you think about that day often? Do you try to visualize what it will look like and sound like? I do and it makes me smile.

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9 ESV

We are living in a holding pattern of sorts.

According to one online dictionary “holding pattern” is the flight-path maintained by an aircraft awaiting permission to land. That’s Jesus.

Merriam Webster added: a state of waiting or suspended activity or progress. That’s us.

Jesus is waiting the word from His Father, and we are waiting on Jesus.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36 NKJV

James tells us to wait patiently.

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, (and sisters) until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8 ESV

I am sure that many hundreds of generations have questioned, “where is He?” But God is not late. His timing is perfect, and He delays for a very specific reason.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV

He is patient toward us, but the day is coming and that leaves the question, “what sort of people ought we to be?”

“…remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:2-13 ESV

We are waiting for new heavens and a new earth. Don’t take your eyes off that!

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