Posted on by Joe Rodriguez
Do you have a bucket list? I do. Of course, it includes visiting what I consider to be some of the most awe-inspiring lighthouses in the world, but it also includes riding on a hot air balloon! Hot air ballooning is a worldwide fun and memorable activity for the entire family. There are over 20 locations in my home state of New Jersey alone. Now, if I could only get to ride a balloon like the one pictured above, that would just be SUPER cool and a dream come true!
Would you believe it if I told you that this lighthouse balloon actually flew in 2019 from none other than Readington, New Jersey? And, would you believe, I missed it?! The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank flew this 115 feet tall (11 stories high) hot air balloon during that year’s festival. I am hoping that they bring it back again sometime in the near future. If they do, you know I will be riding it for sure and scratching it off my bucket list!
This majestic lighter-than-air aircraft rising high above the ground reminds me of that famous inspirational song titled, You Raise Me Up.
Although there is no verifiable information that proves that this song was intended to be a hymn or that it was inspired by the Christian faith (lyrics by Brendan Graham), it’s truly amazing how most of its lyrics are reminiscent of some Bible verses. Coincidence? Maybe, and perhaps that is why it still resonates with those who consider the Almighty as the source of their strength, the lifter of their soul.
“But thou, O Lord art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.”Psalm 3:3
Consider the parallels I found between the song and portions of Scripture.
When I am down, and oh my soul is weary
“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” – Psalm 119:28
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” -Psalms 73:26
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” -Psalm 62:5
Until you come, and sit awhile with me
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” -Psalm 145:18
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” -Psalm 40:2
“So that He sets on high those who are lowly, And those who are saddned are lifted to safety.” -Job 5:11
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
“When you pass through the waters, I [The LORD] will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…” –Isaiah 43:2a
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
“… I [The LORD] have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you and deliver you.” -Isaiah 46:4b
There is no life, no life without its hunger
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” -Matthew 5:6
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
“Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me?” -Psalm 42:11a
But when you come and I am filled with wonder – Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ” -Psalm 65:8
In a sin-stricken world where godlessness and evil are ever-increasing, songs like this one testify to the hope that can still be found among its inhabitants. Family members, friends, and even people we have never met have and perhaps continue to play a significant part in encouraging, guiding, and helping us rise above our challenges. However, there is only One who gave His life so that all who accept Him as Lord and Savior could rise up to become all that He made them to be. And not only to rise up in this world but also unto the world to come; The eternal hope of glory!
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord.”1 Thessalonians 4;16-17
And as we rise above our fears and doubts in this life, let us not forget that as lighthouses for God we also need to rise up and shine the glorious light of His salvation; wherever this earthly pilgrimage takes us. Remember it’s not just about us being lifted up, but also about us lifting others up with love, kindness, respect, and above all, the words that grant eternal life and healing for the soul.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!Isaiah 52:7
If we put God first and seek His kingdom and righteousness, we can fulfill our purpose in life and experience both earthly and spiritual success, joy, hope, and peace in the midst of all the chaos around us. That’s because only in Christ there is fullness of life. So, whether you are in the lowest of valleys or on the highest of mountaintops, look up and cry out to God. Seek more of Him and get ready to be lifted up higher than you have ever been!
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”Matthew 6:33 NLT
“… I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the people you have placed in my life to lift me up when I am down. But you, O, Lord, are the true lifter of my soul. When I need a shoulder and no one is readily available, you are always there. When I face challenges, you help me overcome. When I face obstacles, you help me climb. When I face discouragement, you give me hope. When I am weak, you give me strength. When I am heartbroken, you heal me and fill me with joy. When I am anxious, you grant me true peace. Lord, you are the only One who can raise me up from the lowest place. And because You are the Sovereign and Almighty God who is above all creation, I will lift up my head and trust in you no matter what I face in life. Raise me up so that I can also be a lifter to others and guide them to your throne of unconditional love, mercy and grace. Amen!