A Bruised Reed

by Jan Silvious

There is a wonderful Scripture about Jesus that says "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out" (Matt. 12:20). I am always fascinated by that because it tells me something about Jesus that is so dear to me. He understands my weakness and He is not going to push me beyond my point of endurance.

What I love about that whole concept is that Jesus knows and understands when you just can't do what you ordinarily would...because you are just about to snap or to go out.

I was involved in a little scenario several years ago that has been a wonderful reminder to me over the years that I don't always know what people need to do and it is not my job to push them.

A friend and I were walking by a lake in Pennsylvania. It was spring time and the ducks were quacking and swimming with great fervor. We stood and watched for a moment, and then my friend, who is very athletic, a great swimmer, and loves action, saw a duck sitting on the bank. Confident that this duck just needed some encouragement to join the others, she pushed him in. She had noticed he had an unusual growth on his head, but didn't think anything of it. As he hit the water and started to swim, the biggest duck in the pond came toward him, jumped on him and held him under, trying to drown him!

We were horrified, especially my friend who had thrown him in! She pulled her shoes off, grabbed my hand and said, "Hold on to me" as she waded out to where the ducks were. They were just close enough to shore that she could grab them. So she got hold of the big duck who was assaulting the little one and threw him with all her might. She failed to remember that I was right behind her on the bank and that I was standing higher than she was, so when she threw him back over her head, he got me...feathers, wet feet, and all! It took a moment for the scene to become clear. The smaller duck was okay. He made his way to shore and resumed his place on the bank, none the worse for his forced swim.

Later, as we talked about the incident, we agreed that it was a lot like life. Sometimes we expect people to jump in and do what they just can't do. They may be smoking flax that is just about to go out and some well-meaning friend might say, "This is what you need to do." Or they may be bruised reeds, dangling by one strand. And someone might suggest some vigorous emotional activity they just aren't ready to tackle. You know, we can be hard on one another. We can expect and demand more than a person can possibly give. But Jesus just isn't that way. He knows our weakness and He doesn't force us into situations that will blow out our candles...or break our stems.

I don't know what may be close to snapping in your world today. Maybe no one can see it. Maybe you are the only one who knows how desperately close to breaking you are.

I just want to encourage you, my friend. There is One who is there to hold you, to comfort you, to love you...to protect you. Turn to Him and tell Him you feel as though your candle is about to go out...your last strand of rope is about to break.

He knows and He understands and He will help you.

From The 5-Minute Devotional

©Zondervan 1991