Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God the balloon popper

Where do I start?
Lincoln just had a birthday. So we have a giant Batman balloon that we have tied several other smaller balloons to the end of. Here's the thing, the Batman balloon is big, it's filled with lots of helium, and the other smaller balloons tied to the end of it are... smaller. So in the morning, my father in law would come upstairs (they're visiting from out of town) and see the Batman balloon sinking closer and closer to the ground, and he would grab the end of it, pull it down and cut one of the balloons free. The Batman balloon would happily rise back up to the top of the ceiling, glad to be free of the weight of that other balloon, only to be plagued again the next morning by yet another heavy balloon that needed to be free.
Is the imagery smacking you in the forehead yet? Just wait.
So here I am this morning, at the table, reading my Bible and here's what I read:
"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." James 4:4
"for while we are in this tent we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." 2 Corinthians 5:4
And after reading that I look up from my Bible, feeling so heavy hearted and frustrated that I can never get it and weary and like I just can't fit in this world. And my father-in-law just cuts one balloon free and up it goes (at this point it hasn't dawned on me yet) and then he says "those other balloons keep weighing it down, we just have to cut them off one by one, and we'll cut another one off tomorrow."
I remembered a conversation I had with my husband the day before, where I was telling him how hard it is for me to feel forgiven, and all I see is the things I need to change, and I just wish I could be better at walking in the spirit by now. And he tells me how I've learned to live this way all my life, and God is taking the time to remove the things one by one. The sin....the things that weigh me down. And he'll never be done doing it, he'll just keep pruning, and removing them one by one.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
It's the process of sanctification, but it's nothing without grace to cover it. If I'm just left getting pruned over and over, it hurts. I feel condemned, but knowing that I have so great a salvation that my sins are already taken care of, I am encouraged. And strengthened.
"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again." Psalm 71:20-21
That's what he's in the business of doing after all. Increasing honor and comforting. But how does he do that? By getting rid of the stuff that drags us down, again and again, so that more of him (more of what the balloon was made to do....fly) can happen.
I could go on forever. I love it when God shows me something in my life that illustrates exactly what he's teaching me. I'll never look at balloons again without also remembering the faithful God who helps me become more of what he created me to be. And who lovingly calls me daughter the whole time.

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