For many years I had wanted to challenge myself by doing something out of my comfort-zone, so, to celebrate my 60th birthday I decided to go hot-air ballooning!
The beautiful, calm, clear morning was absolutely perfect as we took off from a mid-Canterbury field. I learned much about ballooning that day, but also discovered many great parallels to the Christian life.
You have to rise early in the morning!
We had to get up at 4.0 in the morning and drive for an hour, before we reached the take-off point, half-way between the mountains and sea.
Jesus often rose before day-break to pray, because He knew what was waiting for Him, and sought His Fatherâ€™s help and strength. If HE needed to do that, how much more do we!
Hot air balloons are filled with air which is heated to make it lighter than the air outside the balloon.
As the air inside the balloon is heated, the air molecules spread out forcing some of the air near the bottom of the balloon to be pushed out. When enough air has been pushed out of the balloon it lifts off.
I liken that to the power of the Holy Spirit when we allow Him to fill our hearts and minds. We are then given the ability to rise above our problems, heartache, fears, or setbacks.
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.â€ – John 3:30 NLT
While floating along, the cold air outside cools the temperature inside the balloon and it begins to sink. All that is required to maintain height, is a blast from the burners.
Outside influences will always come along and try and cool our desire to live fully for the Lord. It is a daily, hourly job to let the Spirit come in and warm a situation to give our hearts and minds the required uplift and encouragement to carry on.
Winds control the direction a balloon goes, but the pilot can control the height.
Sometimes, where we end up is not where we planned to go! St Paul planned to go to Spain but he ended up in one of the worst prisons in Europe. From there he wrote the epistles. Our disappointments may turn out to be God’s appointments. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.â€ – Prov. 19:21
Then there is the silence.
Is that like peace? Is peace the absence of sound? Or is peace the pain of healing, the exercise necessary to heal the broken body or spirit?
â€œYou will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character( is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.â€ Is. 26:3 AMP
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