On bruised reeds and smoldering wicks
We are selling our house. We are buying a house. We are downsizing, cleaning out and getting ready for that move.
During the 22 years we’ve spent in our four-bedroom house, we have saved every piece of clothing we have ever had, every tool we ever bought, every piece of wood left over from every building project we ever did and every Cool Whip bowl we ever emptied. We are finding stuff we can’t even identify in the deep, dark dungeons of the basement.
But I found something. From the back of one of the dungeons -- that’s what I call those dimly lit rooms in the basement with spiders -- I pulled out some flower pots with the dirt, dry and powdery, still in them. I happened to notice a whitish, light green bulb in one of the pots from the dark recesses. My heart did a little happy tap dance as I thought that bulb maybe would grow if put in the sun and watered.
Sure enough. Within one day of watering that bulb and putting it in the sunlight, it began to grow. It grew fast. I think it has grown 1 to 3 inches every day. It is an amaryllis plant. The leaves have grown over a foot, but I don’t know what color the flower is going to be -- a nice surprise for which I’ll have to wait.
I can’t remember the last time I had an amaryllis plant in the house or who might have given it to us. How many years could have gone by with that bulb sitting in the dry dirt in the dark basement waiting for water and light? How exciting can things get?
When I saw the faint evidence of life in that bulb, Isaiah 42:3 came to mind: “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory.” The verse is repeated in Matthew 12:20. Both verses refer to Jesus Christ, God’s gentle servant. No matter how bruised or weak a Christian becomes, gentle Jesus will restore, will not break or snuff out -- even if they hang around in deep, dark dungeons of yuck!
I clung to this verse often when our two children wandered away from God for a while – our prodigals. They had accepted Jesus into their lives as children, but Satan pulled them into his territory and away from God for a while. They had the deposit of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and just like that pale plant I found in the dusty, dark basement, a glimmer of life was still evident.
Through prayer and the Holy Spirit, God shined His Son’s light on them and began to shower them with living water. Those prodigals began to grow into beautiful, fully alive Christians who now serve to bring others to restoration with the Father. Sweet, gentle Jesus loved them more than even we could. My heart did a major happy tap dance – two times!
If you have a prodigal in your life, remember that giving up on prayer is not an option. God knows just where he or she is at, and He knows what is needed to bring them fully alive – no matter how long they have been gone or how deep they have been hidden. “A bruised reed or a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.”
Thank You, Father, for Your Word and the comfort and strength and guidance it brings. Thank You, Father, for restoration of bruised reeds and smoldering wicks – fathers and mothers and sons and daughters and friends. And, thank You, too, for the restoration of my beautiful amaryllis plant. Amen.