Summary: Feeling heavy, tired, defeated? Israel did more than once, but God did not want them to remain that way and it's the same with you. He wants you to fly like an eagle trusting in His mercy and grace. ;
Would you like to fly like an eagle?
Have you ever thought about how wonderful it would be, to be able to fly?
I don’t mean as a passenger in a noisy technical contraptions called an aeroplane,
I mean in your body, soaring above the earth;
like a Golden Eagle circling over a Scottish loch;
gliding through the clouds;
breathing in the fresh air of free and effortless flight!
Almost everybody has wondered what it would be like to fly,
and in history or mythology we have the story of Icarus going too near the Sun.
If not at the present, then at least when you were a child you probably thought about it. You’ve probably also dreamed about it.
But then with those kind of dreams,
there is always that rude awakening when we realise that we are still in bed
and still a prisoner of gravity.
And it’s not just gravity that seems to be holding us down, but everything.
For as our mind comes back to Earth
and we think about the things that lie behind and lie ahead,
our shoulders visibly slump as if we were actually carrying something heavy.
The truth is, we ARE carrying something.
Burdens that weigh us down,
burdens that don’t show up on the bathroom scales,
but exist all the same.
Perhaps that’s why adults don’t think about flying as much as children do.
Because we carry a lot of baggage, too much weight to be able to take off.
We are weighed down by the news.
The world is in a bad way and if you listen to the news,
it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to get any better.
And then there are work issues.
For those in our church who have to work for a living,
who knows if the company they work for will be around in a year or so?
Is some new manager going to decide that he could increase his profits or save costs
by sacking them?
And then there are financial issues.
The ‘Credit Crunch’, the price of electricity and gas, and petrol and food,
and Council Tax, etc., etc.
And then there are health issues, relationship and neighbourhood issues
Unless we are shielded from reality by great wealth or privilege
and unless we have no moral conscience or sensitivity about things around us,
all these things weighs us all down.
We worry ABOUT, and FOR the people we love.
We see our parents getting older; perhaps becoming infirm.
We see our children struggling with their studies or getting a job,
or their work or finances or relationships.
There are so many things that weigh us down
So thoughts of being able to fly?
No! Not anymore! Life is way too sad and heavy to imagine such silly things.
And yet, what does the text say?
“....but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Through the Holy Spirit, the prophet Isaiah
is suggesting that there is a way to overcome the gravity of our lives,
a way to lighten our loads, a way rise above it all.
Isaiah was writing to the people of Israel during a time
when they felt like their strength was sapped and they had no hope.
Like us, they had concerns about the national news.
The news for them was not good.
The Assyrians, a constant threat, were breathing down their necks,
and later it would be the Babylonians who would take them all away to live in exile.
As they thought about all the bad things that were happening around them,
they were overcome by the gravity of it all.
They were saying things like:
“My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God.”
In other words “God doesn’t really care about me!” “How can he?”
Look at all the bad things that are happening all around us.”
They began to see their problems as being bigger than God himself.
They had exchanged their faith in God
for their own ideas about the ways of the world.
And most of us do the exact same thing!
We have this tendency to exclude the possibility that God is in control,
and that He cares.
You ask the average American how he or she is,
and they will usually reply ‘I’m good’,
but we British are modest,
so when people ask us: ‘How are you?’,
we reply either ‘Not bad’ or ‘OK, UNDER the circumstances’
whereas God wants us to fly like eagles OVER them.
That’s where Israel was at the time that Isaiah wrote.
They felt that God wasn’t there for them,
and that He didn’t care about them or their situation.