“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench” Isaiah 42:3
Ever had a time in your life when you were so far down the tubes you weren’t sure you would ever see the light of day again? Defeated? Worn out from the struggle? I’ve been there. It’s ok to admit you’re not superhuman, ok to want to roll over and play dead, or hope you just don’t wake up in the morning. God understands; He truly does.
During one of those moments in my life I happened to be reading an article in a Christian publication and Isaiah 42:3 jumped off the page at me. I sat there and thought about the words; thought about the imagery. The words comforted me; God understood how I felt.
Even though in every church I have ever attended there is a call for people to come forward to be prayed for if they find themselves in situations that have overwhelmed, often there has also been the underlying sense that being knocked down by life is a sign of weakness, perhaps sin that is unresolved.
I have been a part of a few “name it, claim it” churches, too. To admit your fallibility as a human and susceptibility to life’s harsh side is akin to being an unbeliever. That could be an overstatement, but you get the idea. Speak into existence what you want to happen, think positive thoughts, rebuke the devil, put on the full armor of God, stand strong in the face of adversity; there is nothing inherently wrong with these statements, it just ignores the reality….and the subsequent suffering.
Sometimes life hurts. We need someone to come alongside us and understand our pain. Too often there are well-meaning words of advice that rarely help. Trite quotations of scripture from the Bible. But in the face of adversity the words are empty, devoid of comfort.
In the midst of adversity or overwhelming circumstances we need to know we are loved, valuable, worthy of another’s time and effort. We need to know that God is on our side. The tenderness we need is reflected in the scripture from Isaiah. He sees the bruised reed, broken, bent by life’s troubles and He is not going to tread over it breaking it further. Sometimes we are like the smoking flax, our light very nearly extinguished and He promises not to quench what is left of the flame. Instead God will breath life into that smoking flax, steadily, gently reigniting the flame inside us.