A Smoldering Reed
by Karen Weaver
My husband’s battle with cancer had the two of us on a roller coaster ride of optimism and dashed hopes. I was so angry with God that I was ready to explode!
In the midst of this terrible trial, I attended a Christian women’s conference. As I sat with folded arms the speaker got my attention when she asked, “Have you ever been angry with God?” Then she read the scripture:
The Lord says, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3
Later I walked to my car thinking, “God this reed is about to snap. If any wick is smoldering, I can’t see it.”
Back home, I turned to Job 23. As I read each verse, I slapped the page angrily, until I came to verse 10: “God knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Then I stopped. Knowing that gold is refined through exposure to tremendous heat that separates out the impurities, I saw a connection to my situation. Suddenly I became aware of the impurities within me—especially jealousy, resentment, and self-pity. I asked God for help and forgiveness. Calm replaced my anger and peace replaced my fear. In the weeks that followed, I continued to examine my attitudes and to ask for forgiveness. Though God’s words did not change my circumstances, they did change my heart. God does not say that a reed can’t be bruised or that a candle can’t burn low. But God has promised to always be present and faithful in giving us strength to find victory over the struggle.
Prayer: Dear God, we do not understand suffering, but we do know that you take care of us. When we rail against you, replace our anger with trust. Amen.
From: Karen S, Weaver, “The God Standard,” in “The Upper Room,” March-April, 2016.