A Bruised Reed, A Smoldering Wick
The other day one of my students missed a few days of school. I didn’t think much of it as this particular girl misses school frequently. One of our staff told me that she was in jail. She had been caught dealing drugs. I teach 10th graders. Since I’ve taught her, I’ve rarely seen her smile. She has little motivation for school. How does someone that age become someone in jail for dealing drugs? She’s not the first student I’ve seen like her, and certainly won’t be the last.
There’s a fascinating verse in Isaiah 42, and repeated in Matthew 12 that reveals much about the character of God. I learned this verse when I was training as a prison volunteer with Prison Fellowship back in the 1990’s. It’s their theme verse and it reads like this: “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.
I think if we even noticed a bruised reed we certainly wouldn’t think twice about ignoring it or trampling on it. We probably wouldn’t try to nurse it back to strength. But God would because first, He does notice it. Think of this, He notices those who are the equivalent of a bruised reed. Nothing sounds more pitiful and hopeless than that, but to God, they’re not pitiful, hopeless. And second, He restores. A smoldering wick? We’d give up on it, hopeless. It’s out, no more light from it. Get out your cell phone maybe it’ll provide the light you need, but that wick, it’s out. But Jesus, the light of the world, will make it shine again!
You’ve all met or seen people who are bruised reeds or smoldering wicks. God will bring them into your life with an opportunity to do His work here on earth. And when we are instruments of His restoration, His justice, His light will shine, His light will shine more and more brightly on this earth.
Just a few words to encourage you to be on the lookout for those around you who could use some help, some encouragement, some grace, some love and some mercy.