Summary: A sermon about trusting in God when the going gets tough.
"Don't You Know? Haven't You Heard?"
In the Upper Room devotional for this past Monday Amy Grenoble wrote about her many years of battling with an eating disorder.
Her days were filled with mental battles, prayers of desperation, attempts to repair injured relationships and doctor's appointments.
She writes, "I confess...I harbored resentment toward [people] who declare they have heard the voice of God.
Then one morning I had my own encounter with God.
As I sat in my physician's waiting room, my eyes were drawn to a scrap of papers lying at my feet.
On it were the words, 'Never give up. Never give in.'"
Amy continues, "[Was it] a message from God? That's what it felt like to me.
I placed this anonymous encouragement where I can see it every day..."
Isaiah knew how hard it is for us to remember that God is with us, especially when we are facing life's many challenges.
In our Old Testament Lesson for this morning, Isaiah was writing to the people of Israel after they had been exiled from their homeland.
He was talking to people who were dealing with terrible trials and difficulties.
They were so beaten down by life that they had forgotten that God was still with them.
And so they had started to wonder whether God had remembered them at all.
Isaiah knew their situation.
He knew how lost they felt.
He knew their hearts.
He knew that what they needed was to remember that God is always with them, and that if they were able to lift their eyes to the heavens...
...if they could remember that the Creator knows the number of stars in the sky and calls them each by name...
...and that this same God loves them more than they can imagine...
...it they could remember this--they would regain their right perspective on life...
...they would "renew their strength..."
...and not only that...
...they would "fly up on wings like eagles; they [would] run and not be tired; they [would] walk and not be weary."
I want to ask you this morning: Are you feeling discouraged, beaten down, and worn out with life?
Are the problems you are facing so overwhelming that it seems like there will be no end to your struggle?
Do the obstacles in your life keep you from being able to imagine what might be possible tomorrow?
Are you on the verge of giving up any hope for true healing to take place in your life?
Are the wrong choices of your past more than you can deal with?
Are you feeling alone and powerless?
If so, remember that we have all felt like this.
Some of us feel like this nearly all the time.
Our Scripture passage for this morning--this gift from God--is about us.
It's about God and what God does with us when all we seem to be is down.
Isaiah writes to the Babylonian Exiles; Isaiah writes to you; Isaiah writes to me: "Look up at the sky and consider: Who created these?
The one who brings out their attendants one by one, summoning each by name.
Because of God's great strength and mighty power, not one is missing.
Why do you say...'My way is hidden from the Lord my God ignores my predicament'?
Don't you know? Haven't you heard?"
In the busy-ness of our lives it can be easy to forget about the Reality of God, God's attentiveness to every single one of us, God's love and care for every single person.
When we are in financial crisis, are we able to remember Jesus' Words: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet none of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father...
...so don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."?
When it seems like we are all alone in this great big world are we able to remember that Jesus promises: "even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."?
When we feel unloved or unlovable are we able to remember that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life?"
"Don't you know? Haven't you heard?"
Several years ago a church building was destroyed by a deadly tornado.
The children's choir had been having practice when the storm hit.
The pastor had seen the tornado coming and quickly moved the children into the main hallway of the church.
Scared to death, the little kids huddled in that hallway as the winds destroyed their church building.
In order to try and calm the children's fears, the pastor starting leading them in singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children."
Some of the children were injured that day, but miraculously none were killed.