Have you experienced some unexpected setbacks?
Would you say that life has inflicted some painful bruises? Some unforeseen losses that have left a mark on you?
We are closing out a year that has been filled with an inordinate amount of hurts and losses — the kind of blows that definitely leave a bruise on our spirit.
During these times, my thoughts have focused upon one reason the Messiah came: to heal the brokenhearted.
It is encouraging to remember that when life unleashes its bruising experiences on us, we have a Savior whose compassionate heart applies a needed salve.
In this letter, we want to remind ourselves that our Lord Jesus is a Master at healing bruised reeds.
Not What We Expect
A few years ago, I was invited to golf at a rather exclusive private golf course. On one particular hole, I was standing behind our host, the member of the club, as he hit a rather poor iron shot.
He shook his head and muttered, “Well, that was a son-in-law shot!” Curious, I asked him, “What does that mean?”
He replied, “Not all I hoped it would be.” It was a funny line, and I laughed at it.
But I quickly added that I probably would never use it, “because,” as I said, “I’m very happy with the son-in-law that I have.”
“Not all I hoped it would be…..” That may be how you would characterize certain aspects of your life. You may not even be aware of some of the “bruises” you carry.
Others are more apparent: unforeseen job losses; the passing of a friend or family member; a painful divorce; a pervasive regret about something you have failed to accomplish.
The result may be a heaviness in your spirit or even outright broken-heartedness on your part.
Anointed to Heal
Isn’t it helpful to know that such heaviness of heart doesn’t have to be a permanent condition?
One of the reasons the Messiah has come is to remedy that very condition in us.
In Isaiah 61:1 we read these prophetic words spoken by the promised Messiah Himself:
“The Spirit of The LORD GOD is upon Me, because The LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.”
After Jesus quoted this Scripture in the synagogue at Nazareth in Luke 4, He summarized His reading with this amazing statement: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (v. 20).
In other words, Jesus was saying: “I am the promised Messiah. I will do everything this prophecy says I will do — including healing broken, bruised hearts.”
His Care for Hurting People
A related passage that has been much on my mind throughout 2020 has been another reference from Isaiah, also quoted in the New Testament.
Isaiah 42:3 says this about the Anointed One:
“A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not extinguish.”
This passage was quoted in the New Testament as an affirmation of the role Jesus would fulfill as the Messiah — and one of the main remedies He would provide.
What is the implication of this phrase, “a bruised reed He will not break”?
I believe it is a reminder of how tender and compassionate Jesus is toward us. Let’s face it, you and I carry some inevitable bruises from life’s more difficult experiences.
In fact, it is a rare person who travels through life unscathed. So, what do we do with all these bruises?
We come to Jesus and say: “LORD, would You place Your healing hand on this bruise and make it better?”
When we feel like our flame is about to be snuffed out, we ask, “LORD, would You breathe on me by Your Spirit, and ignite the fire in me again?”
Healing and Restoration
Derek Prince sheds further light on these concepts in a helpful message called “Being a Servant.” He confirms what we have noted about the compassion of Jesus.
“Concerning that phrase, “a bruised reed,” a reed is something that grows tall and straight. But if it is bruised, it loses its straightness. It loses its strength. Most people would just throw it away. But Jesus does not break a bruised reed.
There are a lot of bruised reeds among us. Because of experiences in your past, you don’t have the strength; you don’t have the confidence; you don’t have the ability that you need.
You are a bruised reed. Somebody else might crush you. But Jesus will not crush you. Do you know what He will do? He will heal you.
Then we read the phrase, “smoking flax.” Of course, in the old days, people used lamps fed with oil and wicks.
When a wick wasn’t really working, it would give out smoke instead of giving a clear light. That is a picture of a lamp going out.
Many people would just take that wick out and throw it away. But Jesus restores the wick.
As you read this, you may feel like a smoking wick. You really can’t give out a clear light because there are problems in your life that inhibit you.
Jesus isn’t going to throw you away. He is going to restore a pure clear light to you. That’s just what Jesus does.”
The Balm in Gilead
As you and I look back on the year we have experienced, it is good to know that The LORD understands the hurts we have sustained, and His compassionate heart is ready to minister to us.
Perhaps you are in great shape — no wounds, no bruises, no problems. If so, that is wonderful news.
But if, like me, there are some bruised areas of your heart, let’s take them now to The LORD.
LORD, I confess that in many aspects of my life, I am a bruised reed.
I need Your help and Your healing touch. Please fix me, LORD.
The old hymn talks about the “Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole… to heal the sin-sick soul.”
Lord Jesus, You are that Balm! You came as the Messiah to bind up the brokenhearted, and that’s what I need, LORD.
I am asking You now to place Your healing hands upon the bruises within My Spirit.
Breathe on me by Your Holy Spirit and re-ignite the fire inside me so I can serve You more fervently in the days ahead.
Getting Ourselves ‘Fixed’
The prayer you and I have just prayed is an honest and transparent one . Sure, it may be a little self-focused.
But isn’t it essential that you and I get ourselves in a healthy place in order to minister effectively to others?
As Derek Prince regularly said, “If it doesn’t work at home, don’t export it to others.” The “fix” we need is the remedy we have just prayed for.
Speaking of what Derek has said, part of the healing process comes with good teaching.
Why not download the free MP3 “Being a Servant” from which we quoted earlier? There is a link to do just that below — simply one more way for us to express our deep appreciation to you. Or listen online here:
Thank you again and again for your prayers for us, the wonderful expressions of appreciation you have sent, and the generous gifts you have provided to make it possible for this work to grow and increase as we reach out to others.
Blessings to you!
In this Christmas season, as we welcome the Messiah, let’s keep a strong focus on the promise Jesus makes to heal the brokenhearted — hurting people like you and me.
I don’t need to remind you of the “bruised reeds” all around us. Some are hurting so badly that it causes them to lash out at others.
That makes reaching out to them an even more challenging endeavor. But inside every hurting person is a heart crying out for a healing touch. You and I can carry the tender compassion of Jesus to those around us.
During this season, let’s not only rejoice in the healing Jesus brings to the hurts in our own lives.
Can we extend ourselves like Jesus did—healing bruised reeds all around us?
All the best,
P.S. Once again, we send you our love and thanks for your partnership with us. We deeply appreciate your prayers and your gifts. Please don’t forget to download week one of “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit.” We know it will encourage you.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.