A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. -Isaiah 42:3
When we experience tragedy, when life weighs us down, it is easy to feel so broken that one more thing would shatter us. It’s like a child who had a bad day at school. He forgot his lunch, and his homework. He didn’t do well on the math test. Then at recess, partly because he was so frustrated and angry, he got into a fight. As he waits in the principal’s office for his father to come and get him, he is even more fearful of his father’s reaction. What punishment will he receive at home? Oftentimes, we transfer this sense of fear onto our Heavenly Father.
We might avoid taking our pain to God, because we fear his reaction. If the pain is partly because of our sin, will he condemn us? Will He give us the “I told you so” look? If the pain is due to the sin of another, or simply because of this reality we live in of a broken world, will he simply tell us to buck up and move on? No. The heart of Christ is much gentler than that.
Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, emphasis added). Jesus describes himself as gentle and humble. It’s vital to remember gentleness does not equal weakness. Jesus’ gentleness is amazing because of his great strength. Through his Resurrection, Jesus conquered death itself! He is no weakling. Gentleness is not weakness. It is the application of strength to a tender situation.
Because of Jesus’ great strength and great gentleness and humility, the prophet Isaiah calls us to come to him with our pains and our burdens. He will not add to them. He will not give us the added burden of condemnation or guilt. Instead, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3). In this picture, we are the reed bruised by the world. Jesus is able and ready to respond to our pain with gentleness. His heart moves toward us in the same way a mother’s heart moves when she sees her child in distress.
So what is ailing you today? What is your pain? Perhaps you’re realizing your marriage is held on by a string. Or maybe you’ve lost your job and haven’t found the strength to tell your wife. Or maybe your body just isn’t keeping up with you anymore. Take your lament to Jesus. Name your pain. Share your grief with Him. Look for the Tender One, the Mighty One, the Gentle One. He alone is able to sustain you. Remember, he loves you dearly. We can come to him assured that there is none stronger than He, and none Gentler.