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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly


Hear the Gospel according to Isaiah:

The Lord is the everlasting God, 
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
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.

How do you feel today...flying, running, walking...perhaps you'd like to add one...crawling.
Martin Luther King Jr, with this verse in mind, said: 

If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But, by all means keep moving.


How do you feel today? Flying...running...walking...crawling?

When Isaiah prophesied these words to the nation of Israel, they were in captivity in Babylon, having lost everything. The nation had been brutally overcome by Nebuchadnezzar's army after a siege of Jerusalem which is too dreadful to describe when young children are around (but you can read about it in Jeremiah 19:9 Ezek 5:10 Lamentations 4:10 and God's warning/prophecy in Leviticus 26 Their Temple, and as they understood it, their God Himself, had been destroyed, and they were living as captives in a foreign, pagan land. What could be more hopeless. As a nation, they had had their time of flying...certainly under King David and King Josiah....their times of running and of walking...but now, feeling totally let down by their God (having had to eat your own children can lead to a bit of disappointment with God), I doubt they were even crawling.

How do you feel today...flying...running...walking...crawling?

And Isaiah says to them, to you and to me:
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.

We can look at all the Old Testament prophets and in each of their lives as we have them recorded for us, we can find times of flying ...running ...walking ...crawling. Elijah flies in faith up Mount Carmel and confronts the prophets of Baal and the next day crawls in faith as he fearfully escapes Jezebel. Moses runs to Pharoah with God's judgement 40 years after walking away from his fellow Jews. Some prophets can almost be defined as flyers, runners, walkers or crawlers: Elisha is (to my mind) a flyer...Jeremiah a crawler... but all great people of God.

Going to the New Testament, the disciples run to Jesus in faith, fly when sent out with his power in groups of two, crawl in the boat when the storm rises, Peter soars as if on the wings of an eagle when Jesus says "come out onto the water" only to be crawling moments later. And, of course, these walkers, runners, flyers all crawl on the night of Jesus betrayal.

How do you feel today...flying...running...walking...crawling? The truth is we can fly in here this morning, only to be crawling later after....that phone call ... or after that lunch which didn't go the way family lunches are meant to go. You might run into work tomorrow, walk to lunch and crawl home.... and it really can all become quite emotionally, spiritually exhausting.

Jesus mounted up with wings on occasion, the Sermon on the Mount is lofty; He walked bound to Pilate, He crawled under the weight of carrying the cross; He runs to the man on the cross next to him, assuring him of salvation, only to crawl a little later as He desperately wonders where His Father is: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

And you have your own story, your own times of flying and your difficult times of crawling; your times of running and your times of barely managing to walk.

Hear the good news, the gospel: Just as Jesus stood next to Peter's mom and took her hand and helped her up from her sickbed, so too is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, next to you, especially in our Babylons of crawling and walking when we think He is so far away, but next to us and with us as we run and as we take off.

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.

The word translated hope in in the NIV is translated wait for in most translations. We wait for the Lord, we show we have hope in the Lord, through prayer, through Scripture reading, through meditation, through fasting, through fellowshipping like this in worship, through crawling, walking, running, flying to the communion table.... in all these things that are called the means of grace, Christ is present and through all these things, Christ is waiting to reach out, lift you up, and help you to walk, or encourage you on to running, or even to set you free and watch you soar on wings like eagles.

Crawlers, hear this: You will walk again;
Walkers...perhaps it's time to run;
Runners...perhaps He is saying today: Lift off!

Let us all leave with these words ringing on our ears and imprinted on our hearts:
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.

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