I went on a work trip to sunny Florida a couple weeks ago (which is a big change from the below zero weather here in Chicago). I jumped in my uber from the airport, and rolled down all the windows (to my uber driver’s chagrin), and soaked in the warm sun and palm trees.
I landed at the arena where we would have our event, and before I even had a moment to drop my bags I was told that I needed to about face back to the airport and pick up one of our guests.
I jumped in the rental, rolled down all the windows (happy I didn’t have to deal with the stink eye from the uber driver), and set out for the airport. I arrived at the precise time the guest was supposed to arrive and pulled my car to the side to wait. After about 0.5 seconds, a police officer yelled at me to keep moving. She said, “just keep circling around the airport until your friend is outside ready to go.”
Now, the problem is, it takes about 45 seconds to circle around the airport to get back to where I would need to pick up our guest. So, here I was, circling, and circling, and circling around the airport for 5, 10, 15, now 20 mins, feeling ridiculous and getting dizzy in the process.
After a solid 20 minutes of circling, I realized something…it dawned on me that this was actually a perfect illustration for how I have felt in certain areas of my life–waiting and
circling, feeling stuck in a seemingly endless and perpetual holding pattern.
The flight path maintained by an aircraft awaiting permission to land.
A state of waiting or suspended activity or progress.
Have you ever felt like you were going in circles, “awaiting permission to land”, so to speak? Feeling as though time is being wasted, and the constant circling is keeping you from progressing toward the thing you desire.
This exact experience isn’t unfamiliar to the children of Israel, who in Joshua 6 were told to circle around the walls of Jericho 7 times, and on the 7th day to circle around the wall 7 more times.
Why, you ask? Oh, well, so that these massive walls would come crumbling down, of course.
Can you imagine how silly and virtually impossible that could have appeared and felt to the children of Israel?
God’s declaration to them was that by circling around the wall, and making a collective shout, that these impenetrable walls would come tumbling down. Think about day 5 or 6, after they’ve been circling around for days, seeing no progress–no shifts in the foundation, no crackling sounds of the brick and mortar coming apart.
Nope, they only saw a solid wall that was supposedly going to crumble at the sound of some trumpets and shouts.
Throughout scripture, the number seven means completion or perfection. It was not without meaning and purpose that God wanted them to walk seven times around the wall on the seventh day.
I’m sure there was a deep work of faith happening in the hearts of those circling the wall that day. And as for me, after circling around the airport for the 183649 time, I finally (and somewhat randomly) decided to pull over to the side, (for the first time since the police officer yelled at me) in the hopes that our guest would be coming out soon.
Just as I pulled over, I looked out the passenger side window, and my guest was walking out right at that precise moment. I got out of the car, and she proclaimed, “Oh, what perfect timing!”
How ironic, I thought.
The circling around was necessary not only to provide me with an illustration to grasp more of God’s ways in my life, but also to understand that sometimes the “circling around” is so that He can continue preparing the very thing I’m waiting for.
It became so apparent to me in that moment how little information I’m privy to outside of my own experience.
For example, I didn’t know that my guest had brought her young child with her, and he was running around and delaying her. I didn’t know that she had extra bags than normal which took her longer to get out to meet me.
The perfect timing, as she explained it, seemed so inconvenient to me as I was circling around the airport for 30 minutes, but when it actually came time for her to walk out of the airport, ready to be picked up, there I was.
God’s timing can seem so inconvenient because of how little we know about the things outside of our own personal experience. But His timing can be trusted because He knows everything, and is in the process of making everything beautiful.
When the children of Israel had circled seven times on the seventh day, blowing their trumpets and making a collective shout of victory, they saw the impossible happen. They witnessed how powerful it was when faith and obedience collide. Their circling brought victory, and the same goes for us. Our circling, and trusting, and heeding God’s voice, although it may feel silly or pointless sometimes, will always bring us our breakthroughs too.