I noticed a small patch of reeds along the shore Some of the reeds appeared strong and reaching upward, swaying freely in the light breeze, but a few were bent over. They were still green and alive, but they were not upright. The patch of reeds was not present the year before; the water was too shallow, and the reeds did not grow unless they were firmly footed below the water. The verse from Isaiah 42:3 came to my mind. "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice" (NIV).
The bruised reed and smouldering wick represent those who are weary and in need of strength. The bruised reed symbolizes someone who has been damaged by something in its environment, and is feeling bent down and unable to carry the burdens. The smouldering wick symbolizes someone whose inner strength is diminishing, feeling as if they are lacking hope and resisting giving up.
In some sense, we are all bruised and smouldering. The effects of sin have taken their toll. We are all fragile and vulnerable to the world around us. Some of us can hide them better. We have become very good at it after years of having to do so. Sometimes, there is no hiding. It is open for all to see, and we may now have the added burden of shame weighing us down.
Dear reader, have you been bruised? Are you weak and burdened by the trials and pain of this world? Are you feeling damaged, like a reed who is still alive, but has been bent over by the winds and storms? Is your passion smouldering? Are you feeling like you are lacking hope? Are you discouraged, wounded, disappointed, dismayed, or afraid?
Choose Jesus. He will not break you, but restore you to a full life with Him. He will not allow your hope to be extinguished, but will fan in to flame your hope and allow it to burn brightly in a very dark world, where His light is so desperately needed to illuminate the way for others who are hurting. When your heart is set firm in the One who is the Living Water, you can believe that He will, one day, right all the wrongs and all will be well.
The hard part is that we do not always know what that will look like. We may have desires for one thing, but Jesus knows that it is another that is right for us. We must trust, though, that He holds all justice in His hands and knows just what He is doing.
Take heart, dear reader. You are cared for and loved by a powerful God, and yet, nothing escapes His tender care. Your brokenness and weariness matter to Him. Allow Him to lift your downcast face and turn it to Himself. Trust Him. He is faithful.