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They Shall Mount Up

All of us at some point in our lives have had
traumatic experiences. Life has a way of forcing us to
cope with difficulty, pain, sorrow, and stress.

Some people seem to come through every test
stronger… and rise above every tumult. Others
appear to be in danger of drowning in their sorrow
…of being totally overcome by seemingly
insurmountable circumstances.

What makes the difference?

I believe a large part of the answer is a matter of
perspective… the point-of-view we have of life and
its challenges.

Let me share with you a beautiful experience of
Dr. Van Impe’s and mine which helps reveal the
way I feel we should look at life’s problems. It
happened when a special friend of the ministry called
and asked if we’d like to ride in his hot air balloon.

Of course we said yes. And Mr. John Raya, of
Father and Son Construction Co. in Rochester,
Michigan, set a time for us to meet him.

So on a glorious afternoon, we climbed into the
passenger basket and looked up at the beautiful
blue-and-white balloon billowing fifty or sixty feet
above us. My pulse was pounding with excitement
…and I have to admit the tiniest bit of
apprehension gripped my stomach.

But not for long! With a blast of flame from a
propane burner above our heads, additional hot air
was pumped into the balloon… the crew turned
loose of the basket… and we took off — up, up,
and away!

What a sensation! What a thrill! If you’ve ever
gone up in a balloon, you know what I mean — it’s
an unforgettable experience.

Ballooning is nothing like flying in an airplane,
enclosed by glass and aluminum. Instead, you
begin to feel like a free spirit — there is a distinct
sense of physical disembodiment as you feel
yourself floating upward, leaving the earth, rising
higher and higher.

A new way to see!

First of all, I was astonished at what I could see.
There was more sky than earth! Once above the
walls and enclosures of man-made structures, a
panorama of incredible beauty and unlimited
space unfolded all around me. I remember
thinking that this must be like seeing things from
God’s viewpoint.

In their now miniature size, things that
appeared so important on the ground seemed
somehow insignificant. Dented car fenders, a
burned-out house, rushing traffic — everything
seemed to blend into a much larger background.
The walls and fences separating people
diminished before my eyes and faded into mere lines in a
magnificent tapestry of soft color and interwoven
patterns.

I began to see a bigger picture of life itself.
Suddenly I understood as never before how
even events that seem like disasters close-up can
actually disappear into the perfect pattern of
God’s master plan for our lives. And rather than
being overwhelmed, it is possible to accept each
circumstance as a purposeful part of God’s will…
of His greater good for us!

How good it is to develop our spiritual sight in
faith. If only we would make it a practice to allow
the Holy Spirit to lift us above ourselves and see
our situation from God’s viewpoint.

A new way to hear!

The second thing I discovered up in the balloon
was that in addition to a new way to look, there
was also a new way to listen.

As a musician, I am very conscious of sound —
of voices, cries, music. Floating hundreds of feet
in the air, I discovered there was no noise — no
traffic roar, no barking dogs, no ringing
telephones, no blaring radios or TV sets. There was
only the soft sigh of the wind… and the silence.
It was so quiet I could almost hear my own
heartbeat. I actually had to get used to hearing
nothing. And in the soothing, uninterrupted
silence, I felt a healing, restoring power washing out
my brain and smoothing down the wrinkles in my
inner being.

With crystal clarity, I sensed a message of
reassuring love being whispered inside my heart in a
still, small voice. I recognized that Voice! And
suddenly I thrilled with new understanding of what
my Heavenly Father meant when He gently
commanded, Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalm 46:10).

On that crisp autumn afternoon, drifting
quietly above the patchwork quilts of the earth and
under the brilliant blue of the heavens, I knew God
afresh and anew.

Satisfied!

The Lord ministered to me through all my
senses on that special day. In addition to being
blessed through seeing and hearing, I became so
aware of God’s presence that I could almost reach
out and touch Him — I’m sure I felt Him touch me!

And smell — the air above our beloved Michigan
homeland was so pure, so unpolluted at that
height. I’ve never smelled anything so clean. It
was like the very breath of God… exhilarating…
delicious!

I distinctly remember being aware that my
senses were totally filled up — that I wanted
nothing to be satisfied. I had no need for food or
drink. I could cry out with the Psalmist David, O
taste and see that the Lord is good
(Psalm 34:8).

All too soon our balloon ride came to an end, and
it was time to descend back to earth. Almost
reluctantly we left the sky and stood once more on the
ground.

But I’ll never be quite the same again. How
much I learned about Christian living through
what I experienced that day up in the balloon.

I’m told that in stormy weather, that greatest of
birds, the eagle, does not seek a shelter or place of
refuge. Instead, he flies high into the sky, turns
into the wind and sets his wings so that the very
force of the storm lifts him safely above it.

Surely it is no coincidence that God’s Word
declares —

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up with wings as
eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and
they shall walk, and not faint
(Isaiah 40:31).

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