Smoldering

A Bruised Reed

I wish to remind you today of a simple truth about God. He reminded me of it recently during a time that I really needed it.

It came to me in the context of my lack of faith. You see, sometimes I look at my own challenges and at the needs of people around me—healing, reconciliation, breakthrough. When I forget to look though eyes of faith all these things can seem…well, so far from reality. Brokenness can seem to define people.

And the temptation is to disengage and dismiss. To disengage the situations in my life that bring vulnerability, and to dismiss the people whose brokenness and struggles convolute the story I tell myself.

Tangling with some of these tensions I recently asked God what he says and the still small voice replied with something that turned the whole thing for me.

A bruised reed He will not break.

I couldn’t quite bring the whole scripture to mind so I looked it up.

A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:3

As I meditated on this scripture it seemed to carry this message: God does not give up hope. He does not call the game before the buzzer. He does not say “she is too far gone” or “just forget him” or “you had enough chances already.” Jesus does not dismiss the badly broken or the chronically struggling. He is patient. And if he is, then I can be too, both with the seemingly impossible in my own life and with the seemingly impossible in the lives of others.

Here is some hope if I have ever seen it. I do not have to fix everyone; not even myself. Sometimes I think we should all repeat the confession of John the Baptist daily: “I am not the Messiah.” Yes, we have a part to play, but I do well to remember it’s a part in something that is far beyond me.

There are things you know are true because they are in the bible, but when God speaks them in your spirit there is another kind of knowing. In a short time this has become for me a precious and still mysterious utterance that has strengthened my engagement of life in faith so it’s worth writing again, this time rephrased from the book of Matthew.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. – Matthew 12:20 NIV

January 8, 2015