Sharing an old analogy that seems to have struck a chord with so many that continued to feel stretched beyond their capacity. I hope and pray that it encourages you today!
It hit me like a ton of bricks that my life was kind of like a balloon...not the small kind that would kill an asthmatic...but the really stretchy kind...the kind that is able to be shaped into all sorts of exciting things. I began to think of God as the ultimate balloon artist, so to speak. He is very familiar with the balloon...knows just how much air it can hold...knows just how to hold it so it won't accidentally pop...is able to twist and form the balloon into anything he chooses...even when it doesn't make sense what he's doing with all the initial twists and shaping, it always turns out just the way he designed it to be...so cool.
So God takes this flimsy balloon, and he stretches it this way and that, to make sure it's ready to withstand the pressure He's about to insert. This isn't comfortable for the balloon, but it's necessary for sustained growth. Then He begins to blow...lightly at first...just a little air...a picture of a little girl who needs a family. It's ever so small a wind, but even then the balloon is unsure about what's happening. Another child...a boy...the cheeks fill with His sweet breath, and He blows again. It feels like it's too much, yet the force is strong...the grip on the neck of the balloon feels steady.
As months go by, more air is added to the balloon...slowly...sometimes it feels as though no expansion is happening at all...sometimes it feels as though the artist is releasing some of that precious air, one burst at a time. Months of agonizing paperwork...He continues to blow...it feels as though it's too much air...but He knows there's way more possibilities for this balloon...He knows this balloon.
He draws hard from the lungs and blows...emails and calls say she won't survive the winter...it's going to break! Stop!!! Don't blow it up anymore! What good is a broken balloon?!? But the artist knows...even when it seems like it will burst from the pressure, this balloon can stretch much further...and it must, in order to be the exact creation He's got planned. He wets his lip and gives the balloon several short bursts of air in a row...phone call comes announcing a travel date, room-remodel isn't complete, my own needed-surgery postponed...and still he blows.
The balloon is shocked that it's not breaking...it feels like it's breaking...it feels like it might give way any minute...but the artist is holding tight so no air escapes. As He blows long and deep, the expansion continues...she's too sick...you can't take them home...we think she had a heart attack...must get out sooner...blow, blow, blow...The walls of the balloon are taunt...stretched any further, it surely will explode. Who could blame it...how much can one balloon take? Yet, it doesn't break...the artist designed it to withstand great pressure...as long as it's safely held in His hands. A lost hope, a grim reality, a futile attempt to blow itself up or to simply give up all together. And yet, He blows.
Doesn't He realize the balloon will burst at any second??? He must see that, but He seems to understand something the balloon doesn't. He saw the end result...even before He breathed that first breath. He knows exactly what He wants this balloon to look like...even when it's so confusing to the balloon itself. Every time the balloon relaxes itself in the artist hands, something beautiful and amazing happens. It's nothing like what the balloon thought it would be...it's so much better...so, so much better. At times, it really feels like it might break...any extra pressure might send the balloon flying from the artist's hand, all the air escaping as it flies aimlessly around the room...until it finally lands, completely void of any air at all.
The pressure is great...His grip is greater. And the balloon expands, taking in the sweet air of the Creator...even though the stretching and expanding is uncomfortable, the artist knows exactly what to do to make the balloon be all He designed it to be.
After a tremendous burst of breath, He ties it off...knowing that the shaping and structuring of the balloon is key...with each twist and turn, the balloon is really questioning this whole design thing...surely she could easily make a quick shape that would be just as good as the artist. But with the flash of His hand and a passion in His eye, He begins to shape the balloon to the image He'd had planned all along...never forcing the balloon to take the shape of His design...but continually guiding and shaping as the balloon submits to His skilled and graceful hands.
I'm a balloon...apparently I'm still expanding. May I be grateful to be in the hands of the master designer because He knows, above all else, how much pressure this balloon can stand...and what He'll do with this balloon once the pressure is complete. What a day that will be!