When Bryan was two years old, he loved balloons. I remember one time when he had just gotten two new balloons, I asked him if he wanted me to blow them up for him. He held them tightly in his little hand and said no. When I asked him why not, the joyful smile drain from his face and his eyes glistened with almost tears. “Because Mom, if you blow them up they will pop and I won’t have them anymore.” His sadness was so deep, I am still moved by the memory of it.
Yesterday was Pentecost and the preacher explained to the kids in the Children’s Sermon that we are like empty balloons and cannot fulfill our purpose until we are filled with the Breath of God, the Holy Spirit. I heard someone behind me joke about how you could fill it with water too. I wonder if she realized how profound a statement she made because we as human beings have been trying to fill ourselves with all kinds of thing besides God’s Spirit since Adam and Eve and we have been missing the mark ever since. All of our lives we fight to be independent from our very first no. Our sinfulness has made self-sufficiency our goal and our god. Yet God never intended us to go it alone. He made us to work together. He made us to be dependent on Him always—our lives, our sustenance, the very air we breathe are from His hand.
An empty balloon is safe. It will never float away, pop, or shrivel up and deflate with age but it will also never know the wide-eyed marvel or joyful laughter of a child playing with his beloved balloon. It will never know the exhilaration of flying through the air and it will never proudly wear the scars and wrinkles of a balloon that has fulfilled its purpose, the reason it was created.