Sunday, 12 October 2008

Excess baggage - Isaiah 40:27-31

"Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? 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 many of us like to travel? How many of us like to go shopping? And how many of us like to play in a Salvation Army band? Personally I like to so a bit of all three - shopping if its necessary, of course! - but I'm sure you'll agree that all three elements add important elements to our lives.

Each one of them requires us to carry a few bags about, be it plastic bags, backpacks, suitcases or instrument cases, to name a few. That's some of the baggage we tend to carry about with us - but I wonder how many of you are carrying more than that; by that, I don't mean the invisible type.

Sometimes comfort is a dangerous word and can do more harm than good but the Lord provides comfort to those who need it. Who cry out for it. The baggage we cart about may be heavy and get us down but, as verse 29 states, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak".

Youth is no exception from it - verse 30 says "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall" - it an be as much of a victim as the more mature and experienced of us. A lot of you will be familiar with the verse "They will soar on wings like eagles" - imagine that! Being completely free of the problems weighing you down!

"O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer"

We are reminded in our reading that "who hope in the LORD will renew their strength" - make it fresh and brand new. And I pray that as a band and individuals we use the comfort and the strength available to us through God.