I want to thank Eric Williams, the class of 2011, and all of you for the privilege of addressing you this evening for your Baccalaureate service. Congratulations to the graduating class!
As we think about our theme of “soaring,” one of the key passages in Scripture that has already been mentioned is Isaiah 40:31 – “but they who wait for 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.”. Maybe we sometimes wonder, “Why should I believe that God will help me soar on eagles wings?” Well, that is a question God’s people have asked themselves in every generation. But the reason we can know that God will help us soar on eagles’ wings is because He has proven that He has done it in the past, and He can do it again.
When God led Israel out of Egypt – that iron furnace of suffering and affliction – they didn’t immediately land in Disneyworld. Before God led them into the promised land, God’s people wandered for over 40 years in a howling wasteland. For 40 years! That’s over twice as long as you have been alive! No Xbox, no movies, just wandering in a desert, dry wasteland. And yet through that wasteland, God bore them through on eagle’s wings (Exodus 19:4).
• He provided food and water – miraculously
• He provided protection from their enemies
• He provided so that their supplies wouldn’t run out
Soar on eagles’ wings by relying on the Holy Spirit in everything you do.
• Learn from God through Scripture. This world is a wasteland, and sin is like gravity holding you down. But God’s Word is like rocket boosters, that can lift you out sin and out of the gravitational pull and make you soar. “This Bible will either keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” The Bible will either cause you to soar, or sin will keep you from the Bible and your feet anchored to the ground. You have to know your Bible, not just let it sit on your shelf, not just put a verse on your Facebook page – you need to know it and live by it!
• Trust God to provide for you even when you don’t feel like you’re soaring. God’s people didn’t feel like they were soaring when they were wandering in the wilderness. It felt like a wasteland. And this world is a wasteland. But trust Him to provide for you, whether its as simple as your next meal, or your job, or college work, or boyfriend/girlfriend – trust Him! But what about when it seems impossible? Then especially trust Him! It doesn’t seem like you can get water from a rock, but that is exactly what God does. Maybe you’ll find yourself in a situation where it seems like the only way out is to lie. Or if you really want a coworker or a loved one to stay with you, you need to compromise. It seems hopeless. It seems impossible, and it doesn’t feel like soaring. But trust Him! He can bring water from a rock, He can make telling the truth the best thing that happened to you, and He can make not compromising the only way forward. It may not feel like it at the time, but when you look back on it, you’ll see how God’s grace helped you to soar through life’s hardships.
Trust God, know His word, and walk by the Spirit. He’s the One who soars, and when we let Christ lead our lives, we soar with Him!