Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life, exhausted, that nothing is going well?  If you do then today’s passage from Isaiah is for you. 

Those who wait for you O God, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  

This passage from Isaiah captures our imagination because it gives us hope, it tells us that God is on our side and this is important for us to hear this morning. It tells us that whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, God is on our side. 

It starts out by stating that life isn’t easy. In this world we’re going to have trouble!! It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old or rich or poor - things can get tough. There may come a point in your life where you’ll feel like you just can’t go on. If you live long enough… life will get you down you’ll stumble along the path. You’ll fall down and not feel like getting up again. Life’s just going to be hard sometimes. We suffer losses and disappointments. There are times when no matter how hard we try, we can’t make things better by ourselves. 

This passage from Isaiah reminds us what to do when life is like this: “They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

When we’re down and hurting, God doesn’t tell us  to snap out of it. God says, “Wait for me, depend upon me, lean on me, place your hope in me”. 

Jesus said the same thing: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

Today’s Gospel follows on from last weeks Gospel, something that doesn’t often happen with the lectionary readings. If you remember, Jesus spoke with authority in the synagogue and healed a man possessed by a demon. Today’s Gospel from Mark tells us that they left the synagogue and went directly to the house of Simon and Andrew where they discovered that Simon’s mother-in law was sick with a fever. Jesus takes her by the hand and the fever leaves her. The passage also tells us that the whole town were gathered around the door, many of them wanting Jesus to heal them. And Jesus did cure many people that day. 

Let’s take a minute and think about this story. I imagine that Jesus was exhausted and hungry, looking forward to a rest and a meal at the house of a friend, only to get to the house and find that the cook is sick, and even as he heals her, we learn that the whole town – the WHOLE town, was crowding round the door all needing something from him. 

What is interesting to me is that the next morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up early and went to a deserted place to pray. He too was depleted, exhausted. He too as a human being needed to wait for God, depend on God, lean on God, put his hope in God. He modelled for us what we are to do when life is difficult, when there are no easy answers. 

Life can get very busy and it can seem that sometimes there is little time to pause or to rest. The years of going to work, paying the bills, raising children, mentoring teenagers, these are pretty intense years. When I think of those years in my own life I’m reminded of the Sandra Bullock movie Speed, where a train has to move really fast because if it slows down it will blow up. During those years I could barely find ten uninterrupted minutes, never mind a quiet place to be alone. I am in a different chapter of my life now, I have a quiet home and there is time to pray and reflect. Many of you are in that position too. The hectic years are over and you have time to pray and reflect, and this is your vocation now, to pray for the world, for the church, for the needs of individuals that God brings to your attention, but most of all, to just be in the quiet presence of God.  As we consider our path forward as a parish, I ask you to pray, to wait upon the Lord, to depend on him, and place your hope in him, and together, we will find our way forward.