"A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench..." (Isaiah 42:3 NKJ).
Jesus didn't--and doesn't--go by our theory of survival of the fittest. He takes our bruised reed that twists in the storm and strengthens and straightens it enough so that it makes music for Him and others; He takes our dimly burning wick and tends it until it can give light for others groping in their dark night of the soul. We can take glorious comfort in this thought.
There's a German legend that tells of a baron who built his castle on the Rhine. One too-quiet and lonely day he hung wires from crag to crag and turret to turret, hoping that the winds, as they blew upon this great Aeolian harp, might make sweet music and lessen his loneliness. The baron waited patiently every day for his beautiful music. Every day the winds blew from the four corners of heaven, but no music came. Then one night a hurricane charged in, tossing the Rhine into a fury. The lightening pierced the black night and the thunder shook the land with its uproar. The winds seemed to go mad. The baron rushed to the great castle door to view the terrifying scene and suddenly he heard the sound of what seemed angels' music. As he listened with awe, he realized that his harp had come to life at last. The terrifying tempest had given it new and sacred life.
Dear grieving friend, our precious Savior has allowed a sweeping hurricane to carry off what is so dear to us! We feel our treasure being ripped from the core of our existence and, when we reach into our heart to find something to assuage the terrifying hopelessness, all we find is a hole so large we could sink in it. What is so stirring about this particular verse is God’s promise that He will never allow life's lightening bolts to devastate us completely.
This verse helped me mightily in the severe times after our son's death. It was enormously comforting to visualize this weak little reed being lifted and held ever so gently by a Man who understood every pang of grief I was feeling. I envisioned strength and courage returning as I felt Jesus lift this terribly-broken reed and whisper to me, "Dear child, don't you know that I take broken reeds and make some of them pens to write of My love, using My own sacred blood for ink? Some of these broken reeds I take and make instruments of lovely music of praise. Handel was one of those drooping reeds when I gave him inspiration and strength to write Messiah. Yet other broken reeds I make so strong that they become pillars whereon others may rest."
O friend, let Jesus take us and make of us what He will, for it is the broken reeds and smoking wicks that He loves so much!