Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fragile Handle With Care

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not put out.” Isaiah 42:3

Do you feel like an empty, brittle shell of your former self? Failures, disappointments, missed opportunities, unmet expectations, unrealized dreams and visions have drained the balance of Your Life's Meaning Account dry. Would the hint of the gentlest spring breeze shatter you into millions of irretrievable pieces? People are cruel and unforgiving, unfortunately. Your biggest fear – falling into the hands of an angry God who surely disapproves of you and your life as it now stands.

One meaning for the word reed is measuring stick. We treat ourselves like these all the time don't we? How do we compare to where we should be (wherever that is), where others are and what God expects of us? Do we make the grade? Discouraged, we admit we've fallen short – again. The solution - TRY HARDER, a program that wears us down and causes us to drop even further behind.

“This Little Light of Mine,” remember that one? “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Now the flame's all but extinguished and of little help to you or anybody.

Good news, the Savior isn't coming in the form of the Heavenly Street Sweeper to gather up the refuse and debris of our lives for disposal in the celestial dump. He's not out to eradicate the final remnants of our miserable existence, quite the contrary.

Isaiah knew all about the Messiah. In those tenuous, friable, teetering-on-the brink of implosion moments we have nothing to fear from Jesus. He handles the broken with the tenderest care. Battered and at the breaking point, He won't sweep us under the rug, out of sight to be trampled underfoot. Jesus wraps his arms around us and coaxes us down off the ledge to safety. After the punches are piled on and we're beaten to a bloody pulp, left for dead – the Savior never abandons us. Caught in the arid wasteland of frustration and defeat, Jesus refreshes our soul like a frosty glass of ice cold lemonade. If our light's nothing more than the ember on a smoking wick, He re-ignites us to shine brightly again. His touch heals. Recovery often includes some discomfort but He's not about to inflict needless suffering. Jesus doesn't kick those who are down, He raises them up instead.

If you fear His gaze would be the final, fatal, crushing blow, look again:

whoever (that includes you) comes to me, I will never drive away” John 6:37 (emphasis mine);

He has pity on the weak and needy, and saves the needy from death” Psalm 72:12-13;

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3;

But I will restore you to health, and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast” Jeremiah 30:17.

Jesus is interested in putting people back together not writing them off as a hopeless case. Let these words flow over the tattered remnants of your heart like a healing ointment. As you do, entrust yourself to the One who wrote the instruction manual on “Fragile, Handle With Care.”

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