God Will Not Break A Bruised Reed

It was a typical hot and muggy Tennessee summer day.  My son, Nathan, and my oldest daughter, Madison, were playing outside my mother’s house in the grass.  They had come in a time or two smelling like sweaty, dirty kids, but this time was different.  

All of a sudden, I heard Madison come into the house screaming so loud and crying so hard that my mom and I were both sure that a 911 call was in our immediate future.  We both ran to her from different directions.  She was so hysterical she could not even speak to us.  I checked her for blood or injuries from head to toe.  I didn’t see anything wrong.  She was so traumatized she was starting to turn blue, and I thought she was going to pass out.  

However, after she was able to calm down a little bit and actually speak, we realized that she had been stung by a hornet.  Oh, a bee you say!  Is that all?  I thought she had a leg cut off or her brother had been abducted outside by the level of her response.  

We put some medicine on it and talked to her to calm her down.  I had her sit down for quite a while until she got some of her color back.  She didn’t want to go outside anymore, and that was OK.  As flabbergasted as I was in the moment at the level of hysteria I had just witnessed, I knew what she needed in that moment was my support and care, not my judgment.

I share this story just to give you a visual of what happens in our lives sometimes.  We go through life, and life is good.  We are enjoying ourselves, our life and God’s blessings, and then life comes out of nowhere and gives us a great big wallop.  Ouch!  Sometimes we have created the wallop by our sinful choices and sometimes we had nothing to do with the wallop.  We can have a tendency to run off in any direction we can find when the wallop comes.  We take off in a panic without stopping to pray, ask God for forgiveness, or seek His wisdom about our situation.  We go running off in a panic forgetting how He has always been there for us in the past.  We panic rather than knowing He will never forsake us.  We panic rather than resting in Him and His goodness.

I love the story of Elijah who is arguably one of the most important prophets of God in the whole Bible.  He said to God in 1 King 19:4 (ESV), “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  Elijah was so overwhelmed that he wanted to die.  God was compassionate with him.  He feeds Elijah in a supernatural way, and says to him, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”  God acknowledges his weariness and feeds Him.  God sees that it is too much for him, and He is gentle with him.

In the story of Samson, he kills 1,000 men with a jawbone in Judges 15.  At the end of the killing spree, he is exhausted and thirsty.  He calls out to God, and God splits open a hollow place and water came out for him to drink.  Then it says in verse 19 (ESV), “And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived.”

Isaiah 42:3 (NIV) says, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.”  Jesus himself also quoted this same verse as a fulfillment of Himself.  Whether we find ourselves in a situation which seems too much for us to handle, a life experience which has walloped us out of nowhere, or someone else has committed a sin against you which has left horrible consequences, don’t go running off in a panic. 

God is there, and He sees you.  He is gracious.  He is kind.  He can see that you are a bruised reed, and He promises to deal with you with kindness and graciousness.  He sees that you are a wick which is soon to be extinguished, and He does not purposely blow you out but can fuel you to keep going.  He offers forgiveness, wisdom, grace, kindness, and love.  Trust in what His Word says and in Him.  Don’t panic.  He’s got this!

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.  I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” Matthew 12:18-21, ESV

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