“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Isaiah 42:3
In my late twenties, several years following my conversion to Christ, I found myself struggling in my relationship with Him. I had been burning the candle at both ends carrying a full time job, trying to be a Godly husband and father with two little children while seeking to maximize whatever time was left over in serving Him. In the midst of leading a small group, teaching Sunday school, volunteering in a prison ministry and trying to be at church every time the doors were open I suddenly found myself without any passion in my personal relationship with Jesus.
Feeling overwhelmed and the need to cutback on my commitments to the church I went to the pastor to tell him about my burnout and feelings of estrangement from Jesus. With trepidation I approached him after a Sunday service and asked if he would release me from several of my serving commitments at church and pray for me.
He was very gracious in his response and as a faithful under shepherd conveyed the compassionate heart of the Good Shepherd to my weary soul. But the scripture verse he shared with me caught me off guard. When he quoted it, it was like fire falling from heaven. Coming like a bolt of lightning it ignited the smoldering ashes of my zeal for God and with transforming power it renewed a flaming passion for Jesus once again. The verse was a passage from the prophet Isaiah, also quoted in Matthew. It describes the nature of the coming Messiah, Jesus. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3 & Matthew 12:20)
I left my time with the pastor so refreshed that I ended up not cutting back but pressing in and as a result burning even brighter. His yoke was suddenly easy and His burden light because I knew He had not given me more than I could bear but in fact was shouldering it with me. (Matthew 11:30)
I learned then and there that a passion for God is not fueled and fanned into flame by religious activity. If it were, I would not have found myself reduced to a smoldering wick in the first place.
No, it comes only as a result of a revelation of God’s love expressed in His patient endurance with us. The Bible tells us that “His loving kindness is meant to lead us to repentance” and that is so true. (Romans 2:4)
Love transforms and love fuels a passionate devotion in return.
Is your passion for the Lord waning? Do you feel battered and beaten down like a “bruised reed”? Have you lost your zeal for God and feel like a “smoldering wick”? Take some time to meditate upon this verse from Isaiah and allow the truth of God’s love for you to penetrate your weary soul. He promises to heal the bruised reed and fan into flame the smoldering wick. I will stake my life on this verse because He has done this for me again and again over nearly 40 years of walking with Him. I invite you to stake your life on this promise as well.
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