How to Rise Above

Now this may sound like a question for a group of kindergarten students, but have you ever wondered what the science is behind how some things float on water, and others do not?

If you have ever passed by a river in a bustling city or a busy marina, you probably would have seen plenty of empty plastic bags or bottles in the water that people have conveniently forgotten to put in the trash.

These items have one thing in common–they all float.

Before you think I’m insulting your intelligence, bear with me. I looked up the technical explanation for why some things float on water and others do not. It’s actually a bit more sophisticated than you would think.

Apparently, it’s all based on density. The density of water is 1 gram. Anything that weighs more than 1gram sinks, while those things that weigh less, float. In other words, If an object is less dense than water, it will float, if it is more dense than water it will sink.

For example, if you take a marble or a rock and throw it in the river, it will always plummet down to the bottom of the river. Regardless of how small it may be, because it is more dense than water it will always make its way down to the bottom.

The point to this deep philosophical question (joking) was born out of a random but intriguing thought I had about personal depth today.

If a rock needs to be more dense (heavy, deep, or weighty) than its environment to find the depth of the ocean or river floor, could that also be a picture for us?

In our lives could it be that God must first mold us into deep and weighty people before we can defy or rise above our environment (i.e. our uncomfortable circumstances and situations), to discover the depth that can only be found in God?

Let’s be real, becoming a deep or weighty person can be a really painful process. Superficial is easy–it requires no risk and carries with it the guarantee that we won’t experience any unpleasant feelings. Deep, on the other hand, is chock-full of risk, and carries with it no guarantees.

God is in the process of transforming us to be, look, love, and act more like His Son, and oftentimes that is achieved through tough situations–unanswered questions, painful delays, difficult friends or family members, and the list goes on. However, as that depth is formed in us, it gives us a density to defy the very environment that challenges us, and plunges us straight down into the deep things of God.

How ironic.

The things that challenge us and test us are the very things that create an ability to rise above them, and discover the deeper things in life. Only God could come up with something crazy like that.

If we allow God to do the deep work in our lives, it forges a depth in us that defies all natural laws. The rock sinks to the bottom because of its density, but for us, when we allow God the space and margin to work in our lives, that very depth gives us the ability to rise above the very things that sent us there.

Think about the life of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, and ended up unjustly imprisoned for over two years. When God finally delivered and promoted him, his testimony to his brothers was that they hadn’t sent him there, but rather God had sent him ahead of them so he could deliver the people of Israel from famine. He says, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

THAT is a perfect example of a trying circumstance sending a person into the “depths”, and once God had completed the work in his heart, it actually created in him the ability to defy all odds, and rise above the very thing that sent him there.

So, as a simple word of encouragement for someone: embrace the work God is doing in your life, albeit painful, aggravating, and frustrating, it is actually building in you the means to rise above your circumstances, and find a greater depth in God than you’ve experienced before.

“Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;

They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.”

Psalm 107:23-24



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