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When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.—Isaiah 43:2
When Mrs. Booth, the mother of the Salvation Army, was dying, she quietly said, “The waters are rising but I am not sinking.” But then she had been saying that all through her life. Other floods besides the waters of death had gathered about her soul. Often had the floods been out and the roads were deep in affliction. But she had never sunk! The good Lord made her buoyant, and she rode upon the storm!
This, then, is the promise of the Lord, not that the waters of trouble shall never gather about the believer, but that he shall never be overwhelmed. He shall “keep his head above them.” Yes, to him shall be given the grace of “aboveness.” He shall never be under, always above! It is the precious gift of spiritual buoyancy, sanctified good spirits, the power of the Christian hope. When we are in Christ Jesus, circumstances shall never be our master. One is our Master, and “we are more than conquerors in Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”—J. H. Jowett
Joy is a spiritual buoyancy that comes when we are rejoicing in God.—Tim Keller
In 2 Corinthians 4:7–9 we read: “We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great [extraordinary; transcendent] power is from God, not from us. We have troubles and trials all around us, but we are not defeated or crushed. We do not know what to do, [are perplexed/bewildered], but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted and pursued but God does not leave us, He does not abandon or leave us behind. We are hurt sometimes, struck down, knocked over, but we are not destroyed.”
This joy, this buoyancy, does not mean we are impervious to suffering; it means we are unsinkable. We are constantly getting wet, we are constantly being pushed down. However, we do not stay down; we don’t sink.—Tim Keller
Our buoyancy comes from a focus on the unchanging privileges that we have in God, namely complete access to our gracious loving Forever Father.—Author unknown
God seems to ask greater depths of experience of us as we go along the heavenly pathway. First the water of trial is ankle deep, then knee deep, and later loin deep with waters to swim in. Swimming on top of trouble would never be possible in ankle-deep waters. How good that the Lord graduates our trials, which though severe all issue well.—W. M. Wadsworth
But 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
Here is the analogy that comes to mind: it feels as if I am floating on the top of water in a swimming pool on one of those inflatable cushions. When you lie on one of those, and one of your friends tries to push you down under the water level, they can do it, but only for a little while. Why? I believe you call it BUOYANCY.
The definition of buoyancy in Wikipedia (it is on the World Wide Web, so it has to be accurate, right?): “an upward acting force, caused by fluid pressure that opposes an object’s weight.” It goes on to say, “If the object is either less dense than the liquid or shaped appropriately (as in a boat), the force can keep the object afloat.”
Okay, so there you go. Prayer is God’s UPWARD-ACTING FORCE! As God’s people were praying for me, I simply did not, could not, and will not go under for good. He doesn’t allow it to happen.
When you add in the fact that as believers, we are less dense—Jesus lives in us—and we are shaped appropriately—we are in Christ—you can’t be in a better position! Right? Add those two huge things together and you get spiritual buoyancy.
Again, all of us are human. This doesn’t mean that you don’t go under. It just means that with prayer and Jesus, you don’t stay there.
And, in fact, the lower you go, the faster you shoot up because of upward-acting forces. Try to push a beach ball far under the water and you will see what I mean. It shoots up out of the water with great force.
I am learning that this upward-acting force is always more powerful than any weight—including cancer and all the scary unknowns that go with it—that tries to push me down.—John D. Talbert
A little brown cork
Fell in the path of a whale
Who lashed it down
With his angry tail.
But in spite of its blows
It quickly arose,
And floated serenely
Before his nose.
Said the cork to the whale:
“You may flap and sputter and frown,
But you never, never, can keep me down;
For I’m made of the stuff
That is buoyant enough
To float instead of drown.”
I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.—Isaiah 58:14
Those who fly through the air in airships tell us that one of the first rules they learn is to turn their ship toward the wind, and fly against it. The wind lifts the ship up to higher heights. Where did they learn that? They learned it from the birds. If a bird is flying for pleasure, it goes with the wind. But if the bird meets danger, it turns right around and faces the wind, in order that it may rise higher; and it flies away toward the very sun.
Sufferings are God’s winds, His contrary winds, sometimes His strong winds. They are God’s hurricanes, but they take human life and lift it to higher levels and toward God’s heavens.
You have seen in the summertime a day when the atmosphere was so oppressive that you could hardly breathe? But a cloud appeared on the western horizon and that cloud grew larger and threw out rich blessing for the world. The storm rose, lightning flashed and thunder pealed. The storm covered the world, and the atmosphere was cleansed; new life was in the air, and the world was changed.
Human life is worked out according to exactly the same principle. When the storm breaks, the atmosphere is changed, clarified, filled with new life; and a part of heaven is brought down to earth.—Streams in the Desert, Volume 1
Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice.—Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Compiled by Philip Martin. Published on Anchor May 2016.
Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by John Listen.