Last night I was thinking of that kind of ongoing spiritual malaise that sometimes lingers in our lives or in the lives of our loved ones. The picture of the Peanuts character "Pig Pen," with dust clouds swirling around him, comes to mind. How many folks do we know with ever present spiritual dust clouds hanging overhead? How many lives seem lived in some sort of fogged and murky dimness? How many have let the clear light of God in their lives wax into darkness?
God often gives me pictures as I pray. Yesterday, as I was praying, I saw a hot air balloon being filled with air. It started to rise from the ground but went only so far up and seemed stuck in a bank of thick and ominous clouds. The balloon remained there, obscured in mid-air, and the person in the balloon seemed to not know what to do to rise above the clouds. They were not aware that just above them was the brilliant unobscured sunshine. They seemed confused and complacent in their plight.
A voice cried out to them: "Let go of the weights!" Inside of the basket of the balloon were sandbagged weights used to control the balloon's ability to rise. The person inside began dropping these weights overboard and the balloon began to rise into the sunlight.
Many times we might say, "My life has been so dark, and my problems so entrenched that there are no simple answers. I will not be able to free myself from so long a slavery. I shall not know joy." I am not saying that life is not challenging and that it does not deal us some difficult blows. But if I were a betting woman, (and for the record I am not) I would bet that the world's way of thinking has overtaken us. When we think that we shall never know joy again, that our sun will never shine again, that our enslavement to our problems is perpetual, we are not taking seriously what God says when He promises His rest and joy to those who obey Him.
A voice calls out in our wilderness. It is the simple and direct Voice of God: Let go of the weights! Let go of that which is holding you in a dark place! Our response should be one of simple obedience. We will not be helped by cursing the weather, by sitting and waiting for someone to rescue us, or by jumping overboard. We will be helped by deciding to let go of the things we should not be hanging on to. How many of us hold onto unforgiveness, hold onto grudges, hold onto "our" rights? All that God asks is that we "let go." Or even begin to will to let go. That is within our power. Our willingness to let go is what will draw the Lord near to us. Salvation is closer than we know. The race is not won by the strong, but by the obedient! Hebrews 12:1 says, "let us lay aside every weight." May we do that and so rise into the great and everlasting Light of God.