Summary: A sermon about learning to trust in God.
"Learning to Fly"
The late Tom Petty has a song where he sings: “I’m learning to fly, but I don’t have wings.”
Learning to fly is a metaphor for learning to live.
I don’t know how Tom Petty interpreted what it means to “learn to live,” but as Christians learning how to live means learning to trust in God—to live within God’s will.
Then and only then will we “soar on wings like eagles,” “run and not grow weary,” “walk and not faint.”
A young woman named Amy Grenoble writes 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..."
Have you ever had a message from God when you were in a desperate time or situation?
When I was in college, I was going through a period where I questioned whether God really loved me.
I wondered if I was just too sinful, too flawed.
One day, I was wondering about this as I walked across campus and entered the college record store.
I was so weighed down by guilt and shame.
Then I heard the words to a Billy Joel Song coming through the speakers in the store.
You probably know the song.
It goes like this: “I love you just the way you are.”
At that moment, I felt that God was speaking to my thoughts, my insecurities, my questioning.
And God was saying: “Ken, I created you.
I know you.
I died for you.
You are a human being.
Stop being so hard on yourself.
I’ve got great plans for your life.
Trust in me.
It’s going to be alright.
I love you just the way you are.
We’ve got an exciting road ahead.
It’s going to be great.”
Every time I hear that song, I remember that day and what I was going through.
And I am reminded that God does love me, no matter what.
And I am given hope and peace.
Isaiah knew how hard it is for us to remember that God is with us and loves 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.
The people had been forced from their homes, scattered as their Temple was laid to waste, and were now refugees from the very land that had held promise.
They felt faint and powerless.
They even watched as their youths became weary and fell exhausted.
They thought God had forgotten them.
They wondered if God still loved them.
They were feeling hopeless and insecure.
And so Isaiah sent them a message.
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 God created and knows the number of stars in the sky and calls them each by name...
...and that this same Creator God loves them more than they can imagine...
...if they could remember this--they would regain their right perspective on life...
…they would have hope…
...they would "renew their strength..."
...they would "soar on wings like eagles; they would run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint."
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?
Do you think, “How could God possibly love me?”
If so, remember that we have all felt like this.
I’ve felt like this.
Sometimes I still do.
Some of us feel like this nearly all the time.
Our Scripture passage for this morning--this gift from God--is about us just as much as it was about the Babylonian exiles so long ago.