A Bruised Reed

Life can be difficult.  God can help.

I.  A Bruised Reed:  Isaiah 42:3

A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.

I remember reading this verse as a teenager when it is quoted and applied to Jesus in the New Testament, and wondering why that was worth mentioning.  Why do we care about reeds or smoking flax?  Eventually I realized that they were symbols for our spiritual life.  I have a plant in my office that is slowly dieing.  There are times when I am ready to toss it in the dumpster and be done with it.  God never gives up on us.  We may be bruised by the things of this life, but God is able to restore life.  He does not toss us in the dumpster because we have been damaged.  One time, while on guard duty on a rainy night, my fellow sentry became frustrated with the fire and kicked the coals, scattering them everywhere.  I yelled at him, not because I was worried about a mess, or him starting a fire ( did I mention it was raining?)  but because I am very good with fires and I could have more easily restored the fire if he hadn’t scattered the coals.  God is way better with people, than I am with fires.  If our faith is down to just a glowing ember, He is able to restore the flames of faith and commitment.

II.  Through the Trials:  Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

My parents owned a grocery store in a town that was prone to flooding.  The floods would affect the town but my parents’ store was never affected.  It was well up on a hill.  Sometimes our lives as Christians can be like that.  There is trouble around us, but it doesn’t seem to touch us.  Other times however, we may be called to go through the fire.  My parents’ store never flooded, but it did experience a fire.  The store was on the first floor, and there was an apartment on the second and third floors.  One night a fire started in the apartment.  The second and third floors were badly damaged.  Somehow, the first floor did not sustain much damage.  As I remember, the store was only closed one day.  Some product was lost to water damage, but not nearly as much as one would have thought.  Even though there was a fire, and the apartment was lost, my parents’ business came through just fine.  I believe that God is able to bring us through the tests and trials of this life if we maintain our trust in Him.

III.  Renewed Strength:  Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,

This year I am planning on competing in my fourth 24 hour run.  That does not mean that I will run for 24 hours, it means that I have 24 hours to complete as many laps around a track as possible by a combination of running and walking.  I enjoy this event, because you don’t have to be fast, and it is a great test of physical and mental endurance.  It is also a great metaphor for the Christian life.  Our commitment to Christ is not a fifty yard dash, over in a few seconds.  It is a lifelong commitment, that will have its share of ups and downs, running, walking, and even some breaks for a rest.  God is the one who enables us to finish the race that He has set before us.  We do not live for Christ on our own strength, but in the strength that God gives us.

Thank you God for not giving up on us, for bringing us through the tests and trials, and for providing strength for the journey.

These are the sermon notes from 4/6/14.  Any advertisement that might appear is placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

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