A road we travel frequently has a patch of cattails and tiger lilies that all summer I have been enjoying as I drive by. Often this summer I saw redwing blackbirds sitting on the thin stems of the not yet blooming reeds and was amazed at how strong those stems must be as thin as they are to be able to hold up a bird. The reeds bend some with the weight of the bird but the birds never seem to be in a hurry or worried they will lose their footing.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
These words were said about Jesus Christ, Savior and Friend to the world hundreds of years before He was born and fulfilled while He walked this earth. He does not crush those struggling in sin. He does not break the bruised souls oppressed by hurts. He does not take his thumb and finger together and wet them on his tongue and press them against a wick that has a smolder of orange still glowing.
The world does. The world surrounded in darkness. The world that judges faith based on what it can see and name and the strength or weakness it sees.
Jesus does not measure our faith to see if it's bright and glowing and strong, or weak and faint and dim and then determines if one is better than the other. He sees faith, no matter the size, no matter the brightness.
Jesus does not break the weak faith, burdened by sin and the world's oppressions. He doesn't press on the bruises of our pain and make them hurt more. Jesus stands underneath the reeds that are bent, the reeds bruised and holds them up.
He fans the flame of the smoldering wick, blows on it, gets the smoke rolling, the flame burning. He straightens the reeds bent down by storms and stands them tall so they are again a refuge for one seeking rest or shelter.
Your faith may be smoldering and bruised, but it's still faith. And it still counts. Don't give up, don't be afraid. Call out to him to fan your wick into a burning flame that gives light and warmth. Beg him to straighten your bruised and bent heart to healing.
Your bruised and smoldering heart is not a heart that is worthless or faithless. It is a heart that is strong and beating and filled with the hope that the Savior put in it when He called you His child.
Don't let anyone or anything measure your faith by what can only be seen with the eyes, but instead let God use the immeasurable, the unseen to bring light to this dark and hurting world.
If you feel you are being broken or snuffed out, it is not Jesus who is doing it. How do I know? Because the Bible tells me so.
A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.