Floating Stones on Water

Floating Stones on Water


Underneath  are the everlasting arms   (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Purpose of the Illustration

  1. To show that even when it seems impossible God is able to uphold us.

  2. To indicate that as the rock floats on the water, a seemingly impossible feat, so is God strong enough to keep the waters of trouble from submerging us.


  1. A glass dish or container large enough to float small flat rocks.

  2. Several small flat-surfaced stones.

  3. A glass full of plain water.


  1. Potassium iodide.

  2. Red mercuric iodide.

Method of Procedure

  1. Maize a strong solution of potassium iodide.

  2. Saturate this with as much red mercuric iodide as it will contain.

  3. Place the small stones upon the solution and they will float.

  4. Place stones in the glass of water, for contrast, and watch them sink.

Chemical Reaction

  1. The solution you have made is heavier than water, in fact, more than twice as heavy as water, and hence of greater density than the flat-surfaced stones, which will float.

Cautions and Representations

  1. Be sure that your solution reaches the point of saturation for the chemicals.

  2. Be sure to select stones of low density, as some stones are five times as dense as water, and will not float.

  3. Care must be taken with handling and dis­posal of the mercuric iodide as it is poisonous.

  4. Practice at home to make sure that the stones will remain upon the surface of the solution.

  5. The stones represent us, as Christians, while the solution represents God's ability to bear us up however troublesome the circumstance or great the trial.

"I tested that promise," said Roger Winans, a missionary who lived on the headwaters of the Amazon River near the Peru-Ecuadorian border, "and God proved it to be literally true."

We were sitting in my home in the South, and the missionary, who had come to make an address on the head-hunters of the land where he labored, told of many unusual experiences where God had literally upheld him. Strangest of all was when he had floated down the Amazonian tributary which flowed past his headquarters in the heart of the head-hunting country, to Iquitos, where he took the steamer for America.

"The river was at high tide and when we came to the rapids, the natives whom I had won to Christ looked at them, and said, 'Never make it through.' They refused to go farther, I prayed about the matter, for I must eaten the steamer at lquitos or be a month late for my appointment in the States, and God seemed to whisper, 'When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.' "

"Then what happened?" I asked.

"When I told the natives of this reassuring message, they looked at me, and smiled, and said they were willing to ride the rapids with a man who could talk with God. We went through those rapids—doubtless an exploit which no one had ever accomplished before at high tide—and never lost a single article on the large balsam wood raft."

"Balsam wood?" I inquired.

"Yes, it grows wild down there," he answered and then continued, "God kept His promise. The waters did not overflow us. I felt that underneath the raft were the everlasting arms."

As these stones, which ordinarily will sink in plain water—drop a stone in the plain water—are floating on this water solution—place the fiat-surfaced stones on the chemical solution in the glass dish—so will a child of God be able to float or keep from sinking beneath waves of discouragement or trouble or trial because underneath will be His everlasting arms. God is able to uphold us, to sustain us, to keep us.

John G. Paton tells of an experience he had in the New Hebrides. One morning at daybreak he was busy setting type for the Bible in the native language, when he looked up and saw a native with a drawn spear, ready to murder him.

Silently he called upon God for protection, and as he prayed he felt the assurance that around him were the everlasting arms of the Almighty. When he looked up, the native had dropped his spear and was disappearing in the jungle.

Said another friend, Osborn from interior China—he was a missionary to that land for twenty-seven years— "I found myself surrounded by bandits, a row of spears thrust at me, and when I prayed, I felt deliverance come winging to my soul. God delivered me and not once was I even as much as scratched." He likewise came out of a Japanese concentration camp unscathed.

We need not sink beneath the waves of trial and trouble when we can have the wonderful and everlasting arms of God to uphold us. Prayer brings aid in hours of difficulty. Seek God's strength to uphold you, and you need not sink beneath the waves.

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