Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Lesson from the Balloons

For the past 10 years my Church has a Sunday in October that we deem “Salvation Sunday”. The purpose of “Salvation Sunday” is simple. It is a day of intentional evangelism. It isn’t the only day of intentional evangelism, but on “Salvation Sunday” we celebrate offering Jesus Christ and the gift of Salvation. The good folks of my Church intentionally invite their unsaved, unchurched friends and family. We intentionally offer them Jesus Christ and His Salvation using special music and media. Finally, we intentionally fellowship with all in attendance…over an intentionally cooked dinner. (I really like that last part!)

A year ago we added a new tradition. It was suggested that we take balloons, place a simple gospel message inside with the Church’s phone number, and release it to the world. Last year we tried this .We had our fellowship meal together (scrumptious!). We handed out the 35 to 40 pre-stuffed, Helium balloons. We went outside and prayed over the balloons. Then, we let them go.  It was a beautiful gesture of releasing the gospel to the world.

So...we did it again this year with more balloons. This time we filled 79 balloons with a gospel message and Helium. After we intentionally ate our dinner together, we took the balloons outside, prayed over them and let them go.

That’s when it happened!

As we released the balloons, a down draft came out of nowhere pushing the mass of balloons down almost to the ground. Instead of all bunched up, the balloons spread out and rose into the sky quickly…at least 72 did. There were 7 balloons that got pushed to the side and when they started going up, they were caught in the trees. Most of the balloons were held by the balloons themselves, but one pink balloon in particular was caught by its string.

As most eyes were fixed on the mass ascension of balloons (pun intended), conversations began about who might read the message inside and hopes and prayers that God would allow the right person to find the message at the right time. Slowly, the congregation’s attention turned toward the detained balloons and the conversation began to shifted  to wondering if the detained messages would be freed. Slowly, one by one each balloon was individually pushed back and forth by the wind until they were worked free. It seemed as though each balloon was time released. Each balloon was held until it was time for the message to be released. As each captive balloon became released a cheer would rise from the crowd. With each release the cheer would grow louder and louder until there was one balloon left.

The last balloon, the pink, entangled balloon, was swaying back and forth. At times it was stretching straight up with the string so taut it looked as if it would pull the tree out by the roots. Folks stayed awhile to see if the last balloon would be released. But that was impossible as the string had wrapped around a thin branch and knotted itself to the limb. The crowd dwindled as the moments passed

There were only a handful of us left to watch the entangled, pink balloon’s struggle. I, personally, didn’t see it. One of the good folks of the Church said, “There it goes!” I turned my head in time to see the balloon that was knotted at the string, impossible to fly…fly away.

I stood in awe of God and learned a lesson. His message is released into the world. At just the right moment, when we are ready, God releases His message into our hearts. There is nothing that can hold it back or keep it from coming. Even if it seems impossible, God can and will release His message into the world...just like a balloon caught in a tree.

Take heart O, Christian….God is still in control!