A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”Isaiah 42:3-4

smoldering wickOur family loves to go camping every opportunity we can. There’s something about hooking up the camper and heading into the woods to get away from it all, even if for only a couple days. On one such camping trip we stopped at the gift shop of the campgrounds we would call home for several days.

While we all love camping, my daughter enjoys it the most. She like the conveniences of a full service campground with playgrounds and pools, but she is equally enthralled with escaping to the remotest places in the world (our world anyway) to enjoy the barest of facilities.

On this particular occasion she saw a fire-starting kit complete with flint and steel. Now, mind you, I am NOT a Boy Scout. My idea of starting a fire in remote areas is making sure my Aim & Flame is fresh and ready to go! However, we bought the kit and proceeded to our campsite to start the fire that would cook our supper.

The task was quite a challenge for one novice and a young child. We tried over and over to get the flame started. A couple times we got a small piece of leaf to smolder but time and again it would die out and we’d have to start over. I confess to you that we gave up. Hunger proved more of an incentive than rustic living!

When Isaiah was writing to the nation of Israel they were a tired nation. Largely due to their own rebellion, they were suffering under enemy rule as God’s judgment of their idolatry. They were tired. They were full of hopelessness. They saw no easy solution to their problems. Many died never seeing the deliverance promised them.

Later, Matthew would quote Isaiah in his gospel. Not many things had changed for Israel. They were still a people under bondage. They were still a people in hopeless despair. They were economically depressed, politically oppressed and religiously distressed. Then Jesus came.

Isaiah’s description of the Messiah was just what the people needed in his day, during the time Jesus walked this earth and today as well.

We need a Savior who will understand the delicacy of a smoldering wick. We need a Savior that understands our fragile condition. We need a Savior that realizes that just one more puff of wind may put an end to our ability to cope.

As we feel the life ebb from our emotional souls it’s easy to look for the easy solution, to look at what I like to call the three R’s of life: Religion, Riches and Relationships. The problem is that we have learned, or are learning the hard way that none of these help. All of them may seem to fan the flame for a time, but eventually they snuff us out.

Jesus didn’t come to snuff out our flame. He didn’t come to break us into submission. This God that can calm the storm; this God that hangs the stars in their place; this God that casts out demons, is also a God of gentleness. He comes to shore us  up in our weakness, to fan the flame that has all but died out in our souls.

Regardless of what is attacking you now, realize that Jesus Christ came to gently, but firmly rekindle the flame within you. It may take time, but he has all the time in the world.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you this morning for the power you showed in the storms of Galilee; how you healed the sick, the lame and those hounded by demons. Most of all, Lord Jesus I thank you that in my weakest moments when I feel the flame of my hope about to be snuffed out, you come to me to fan the flame once again in my soul. Amen.

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