God’s balloons

God’s balloons

May 14
God’s balloons

Birthdays in my family are a big deal — especially for my nieces and nephews.  There are almost always balloons.  Lots and lots of balloons.  So many balloons that they cover the ceiling inside the house.  So many balloons that it takes four adults working in an assembly line to get them all filled and tied.  Most birthdays we blow up over 200 balloons — with helium.

After inflating thousands of balloons, I’ve learned a thing or two.  And with most things, I found God in it.

Every person is like a balloon, waiting to be filled with the breath of God.

We begin without that Spirit in us.  We are tiny, shrunken things.  Try to get us to fly and we’ll fall right out of the sky and plummet to the ground.  Try to stretch us and we’ll snap right back to where we were as soon as you stop stretching.

But something amazing happens when you breathe into one.  It grows.  And not just a little.  Inflate a balloon just a bit and it is still quite bigger than it was before.  And it will hold that size for as long as that breath remains inside of it.  It becomes a little more resistant to gravity, a little more capable of remaining aloft.  It’s a little more transparent.  But only as long as the breath remains inside.  Release the end of the balloon and it expels the breath in a rush as it hurries to return to its shrunken state.

But it doesn’t return.  At least not all the way.  It’s been stretched a little.  It’s still a little bigger than it was when it started.  And it’s a little easier to inflate — it doesn’t resist quite as much as before.

So many Christians say that want to be filled with God but then they resent the pains of being stretched so that they can contain more of Him.

What if every trial, every struggle was God breathing His life into us?  What if the pains of life were God stretching us so that we could contain more of Him?

As we’re being stretched, it hurts.  We want to go back to where we were comfortable, where we couldn’t hold as much of His breath.  Stretching is painful, but being filled with God requires that we stretch.  Which leaves us in something of a predicament.  We want both sides — we want a life devoid of hardship or pain, but we want to be filled with God.  We are balloons lacking the very thing we were made to contain.

Those who focus on the pain, the discomfort, the stretching — those are the ones who go back to being shrunken and empty.  Perhaps they are afraid of being popped.  But God made them.  He knows how far they can stretch.  He knows the point at which they will pop.  And He has promised never to push them that far.  He still stretches them because He knows it is good for them and it is the only way they can hold more of His breath, but as long as they are focused on their discomfort they will never swell with His fullness.  They will always be dragged down swiftly by the gravity of life.

But those who allow God to fill them, who accept His stretching even though it is difficult and sometimes painful, those are the ones who become full.  When they are full of His breath, they float lightly through the air.  Even when gravity overcomes them and they come back down, they bounce back up again.  The more they are stretched, the thinner their walls become and the more others are able to see inside them and see what it is that fills them.

The Greek word used in the Bible for spirit is “pneuma.”  It is the same word for breath.  When we read where God wants to fill us with His Spirit, it is as if He is saying He wants to breathe into us — to fill us with His breath.  Like a balloon.  We were made to hold His Spirit, His breath.  It is a gift.  Stretching is a gift.  The discomfort and pain that come from stretching is also a gift — it is the only way to stretch and hold more of His breath, His Spirit.  The more breath a balloon holds, the more it has been stretched.  We are no different.  Show me someone that you believe is full of God’s Spirit and I’ll show you someone who has been stretched, who has been through struggles and hardships, but has let God stretch them and fill them.  Could it be that those who are focused on their past, on their hurts and their wounds, often have little room for God’s breath?

I’m going to share some Scripture where I’ve replaced the word “spirit” with “breath.”  I’ve reworded some of them slightly so they makes a little more sense, but I’ve tried to keep them close to the NIV.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Breath dwells in you?”

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist God’s Breath!”

“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Breath, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”

“Now the Lord is the Breath, and where the Breath of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

“The person without Breath does not accept the things that come from the Breath of God but considers them foolishness”

“And if the Breath of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Breath in you.”

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through His Breath”

“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but God’s Breath.”

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Breath.”

“The Breath gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Breath and life.”

I truly believe that God made us to be His balloons, to be filled with His Breath.  But because of this world in which we live, the sin and brokenness that surrounds us and invades us, He has to stretch us back out again so that He can fill us.  When we are full of Him, when we allow Him to breathe Life into us, we are lighter than this world.  His Breath carries us above our troubles and our hardships.  Our walls become thinner as people see less of us and more of what is inside of us.  But it takes stretching.  When God stretches you, see it for what it truly is — God trying to help you make more room for what you were always meant to hold.  Him.

I can think of nothing more beautiful or worthy.  Stretch me, my God.  Fill me beyond what I think I can hold.

I close this with my prayer for you.  I have taken it straight from Scripture.  I Know it to be true and I hope that you will continue to allow God to stretch you and fill you as the balloon you are.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of His Breath.”

2 comments

  1. Gretchen LeJeune

    Love this Chris! I praise God that His breath fills me and continues to stretch my heart! I’m looking to the future and am excited in anticipation of what He has in store!

    • I am so excited to hear that, Gretchen. I know you have been stretched. Never forget that it has a glorious purpose! God is GOOD!!

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