Bruised Reeds and a Broken Savior

Jasmine writing on what she’s been learning in Isaiah in order to encourage our youth in how God wants to use them in their brokenness:

“Lord, I feel sick”

“I came for the sick. I came for the broken. I came for the helpless.”

“But how can I lead others if I’m broken?”

“Because you know me, the Healer.”

This is a conversation I had in prayer this morning. Did I literally hear God’s voice while sitting in the quiet of my room? No. But I heard his Spirit reminding me of the words he has spoken to me in the past through his Holy Word. God spoke to me this morning.

If you’ve read any of my writings the past few months, you’ve read about how I’m coping with my sister’s death. It’s the only topic I know how to write about lately because at the end of the day, it’s really all I think about.

You’ve read about how God has lead me to trust him more—that he is good and that he truly is God. You’ve read about my fear, you’ve read about my grief. You’ve read about God’s faithfulness to me, you’ve read about God’s love for me. You’ve read about my heart—how it has been dead, not desiring on its own to draw near to God, and you’ve read about my mind—how it knows that I must cling to his word for dear life until my heart catches up.

You’ve read about me. And four months later, I’m still broken. I see the sickness of my own heart, and I wonder, “God, how could you accept me? How could you keep me? How could you love me?”

And just as God always answers our heart cries for him, he met my pain this week with a promise from Isaiah 42:

“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench…”

(verse 3)

I’m bruised, but he won’t break and discard me. I’m like the wick of a candle that was once burning fiercely, but is now faintly burning. But guess what? God won’t quench me out.

He continues to say that:

“…he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

(Isaiah 42:3-9)

Not only will he spare me from being crushed, and keep me from being blown out, but he will use me. And I’m not the first broken person in history that God has used for his glory:

-When God told Moses to trust in him to provide water in the wilderness, Moses struck the rock not once, but three times. Moses was called to trust in God to provide, yet he struck Christ—the rock. Yet God still used him to prepare his people for the Promised Land. God did not discard Moses for his act of unfaithfulness.

-When asked if he loved Jesus more than anything or anyone, Peter replied not once, but three times, “I just love you like a friend.” Peter couldn’t give God the love he deserved. Yet God still used Peter to build his church.

-God used Perez, a child from an incestuous relationship, to bring forth the Messiah. He did not discard him as unclean or worthless.

-Some of Jesus’ own disciples doubted him when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection. Yet he kept them and used them to carry the gospel to all nations.

-God used Paul, a man who was hard hearted and dead-set against the gospel of Jesus Christ, to give us most of the teachings about Christ and the church that we have today. God lit Paul’s fuse himself and made a broken man a man who was on fire for the gospel.

The Bible is full of people with sick hearts. It is filled with stories—true stories—that tell of people just like you and me: people who rebel, people who are prideful, people who are doubtful, people who want to love God with all their heart, mind and soul but who just can’t muster up enough strength to do so. The Bible is full of stories about broken people with sick hearts, and these are the people that God refuses to discard or quench out.

How? Why? Why in the world would he not discard us? Because Jesus, the only one who was fully God and free from all sickness of heart, was broken for us out of love like a bruised reed. Because Jesus, the only one whose passion for God was fully lit, was quenched out like a smoldering wick.

When Jesus was on his way to the cross to be quenched out for the sins of his people, he was struck on the head with a reed (Matthew 27:30). A reed bruised Jesus. Do you see the beauty here? We are the bruised reed that is just one movement away from snapping entirely. We are the bruised reed—the sinful flesh—that broke Jesus. We hit him on the head with our sins and quenched him out with our wicked hearts, yet he holds us by the hand. He accepted it, without crying aloud or raising his voice (Isaiah 42:2).

So, thus says God, the LORD:

“I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

God takes broken people and uses them to help heal other broken people. And in the areas of our hearts that are still darkened, that are still cold, that are still broken, he says, “Don’t fear; I see your heart and I still take you by the hand. I see your brokenness and I will still keep you. I will heal you, and I will gather even more broken people through your brokenness.”

The broken he does not discard, and the burnt out he does not extinguish.

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