Through the Roar

28 Jul

Surely, I am with you always.  Matthew 28:20

The woods were quiet as I ambled down the path toward the creek.  The air, as crisp as the leaves under my sandals, stirred a little, then fell still again.  Perfection.  Not too hot, but not chilly; beautiful blue sky and sunshine; brilliantly lit orange leaves from the ground to the treetops.  Autumn was waking up my senses.

Far away an intermittent roar broke through the idyllic afternoon.  Surrounded by the deep forest, I looked around each time I heard it, but the source remained a mystery.

Out of the edge of my peripheral vision a large swooping object made me duck instinctively and whirl around to face it.  I laughed out loud!

Glorious color floated not too far above the treetops as another roar escaped from the burner throwing flames into the billowy balloon.  I’d never been this close to one before.  Seen from a distance, their silhouettes float across the sky in peaceful silence.  But above me a bulbous craft creaked, broadcast its riders’ voices, and roared.

Now that the balloon was directly overheard the roaring dominated everything– my peaceful walk, the chatter of the birds, and my thoughts.

I was in the woods to spend time with God.  His creation always draws me closer to Him.  Apparently so do hot air balloons, as He began to speak to me through the roar.

I’ll share three insights from that day with you.

1.  The burner stayed with the balloon. 

(I know this is one of those ultra-obvious statements, but being aware of the basics, what is often taken for granted, is what makes the light bulb snap on over my head.)  The source of freedom, progress, and power was right there within reach.  All the captain had to do was reach his hand out and turn the valve.  Instantly, the roar heated the air inside the light-weight nylon, and the balloon gracefully responded.

2. The captain didn’t wait for the balloon to get into trouble before letting the burner roar.

The roars didn’t last long.  Sometimes just a few seconds, sometimes a full minute.  All totaled, the time the burner was lit was probably a fraction of the entire flight.  But frequent bursts were necessary to keep the balloon from crashing into a treeline or listing all the way to the ground.  To run the burner for the same amount of time it ran during the trip before it took off would have made for a very short run.

3. From a distance, the burner is unnoticeable.

I mentioned this earlier.  Previously when I’ve seen hot-air balloons, they have been a long way off.  From my perspective they float effortlessly and beautifully– without roaring.  But, of course I’m just not close enough to hear the burner blast power and the balloon skyward.  Physics and chemistry turn into art and magic.

God spoke to me through these, and many other parallels that day in the woods.  Reminding me that He is always right with me; that I need Him all throughout the day, not just at the beginning; and that He combines many, many relationships and situations to create a wonder for others to see that is my life.

I went out to commune with God through His creation – and He spoke through the roar of a propane and silk ballet.


Ready for Sunday

Every follower of Jesus needs both long drinks at His well (much like filling the entire balloon before a flight) and short sips throughout the day.  Especially as worship leaders, however, we can’t do what He’s called us to do without both.  I know that!  But how do I make it a regular practice… instead of waiting until I’m in trouble?  How do I become so desperate for God, I can’t go on without Him?

I’m interested in your thoughts.  Accountability to someone who asks me hard questions (I’ve given her permission to do so) is part of my strategy.  How have you made these practices part of your life so your relationship with Him propels you forward with His power in order to lead others toward Him?


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