The Bruised Reed

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench - Isaiah 42:3

There are times when you seem to be clinging onto life only by your fingertips. Things come at you from all directions, leaving you battered, bruised and bashed. Stress rises, and your spirit drops. As if this isn’t bad enough, you are often left feeling weak and useless. You might try to pray, but the ceiling seems lead-lined and words come out at a very slow trickle, if at all.

It is precisely at these times what we need to remember the tenderness of God. To imagine God as a stern, Victorian father - all scowls and black suits - is to forget Jesus’ image of the father running to greet his wayward son. Look again at the quote from Isaiah above, and see the heart of God.

Of course, it is only when we are bruised or faintly burning that we are in a position to experience God’s tenderness. God “manifests, more of his love, grace, and tenderness, in the time of affliction, than prosperity” noted John Flavel (1627–1691), and we should not despise these times of weakness. It is as we are weak that we allow ourselves to be lifted by the hand of God.

It is a principle in the Christian life that self-confidence and prosperity can lead us from God, and that as we are humbled we seek to return. Whilst we should not seek adversity, we shouldn’t fear it.

And when you do feel weak, do remember: “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench”.

A Tale of Two Gardens

This is why Easter stands at the hinge of history. It is more than simply a tale about a human coming back to life, it is the account of how God restored the human race so that we might be reconciled to him.

Sowing to the Spirit

The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:8) - In the end it is often patience we lack, rather than effort. Stickability is a spiritual discipline to set alongside our daily routines. Foolish indeed would be the farmer who re-ploughs the field after a week because shoots cannot be seen. More foolish the Christian who gives up praying before God answers.

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