Sunday, February 3, 2008

I am a Bruised Reed

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nate and I am a bruised reed.

That sounds a bit like an AA introduction. And in some ways, maybe it is. Bruised reeds don't get much talk these days. The world isn't run by bruised reeds. They aren't the ones on the cover of books, and magazines. People don't generally try to emulate them. Instead, they are hurt people. Not in the vein of dissociative identity disorder (although they're definitely bruised as well.) Instead, we're people whose lives aren't perfect, and are consciously aware of that.

The one place that Bruised Reeds should get the attention and care they need are in the local church. After all, Isaiah 42.3 foretells that Jesus will not break a bruise reed. A promise later fulfilled in Matthew. But bruised reeds are messy. I don't think I'm co-dependent or anything like that, but I don't fit into a well defined church box.

For example, I'm 15 hours away from completing my Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I know quite a it of my Bible, and theology. Without being proud, I'd say I know more than the average SBC church member. Bruised reeds are often thought of as people who just need to know the truth of scripture and that will sort everything out. And in deed, it may. Although my version of "knowing" and their version of knowing are vastly different. I can cite passages, defend theologies and parse Greek and Hebrew verbs. I know that Jesus loves me and that the Father loves me. Yet often those truths feel elusive in my life.

I'm not a bruised reed because I doubt my salvation. I'm very much assured of my salvation.

Instead, I'm a bruised reed because I have pain in my life. Who doesn't right? And I don't think that my pain is more than normal. I don't want to be some kind of martyr here. But for so long, I have stuffed the pain deep inside. I took the approach that for good Christians, every day with Jesus is better than the day before. So, I was determined to make the day better than yesterday. No time for pain, no time for hurt, because I follow Jesus.

But now, I'm coming to terms with the fact that, as was so well stated by REM, everybody hurts sometime. And I know the answer to that hurt is Jesus. But simply saying "Jesus will take care of it" seems to be a bit trite to me. Yet, I'm sure I've uttered that phrase to similarly hurting people at various times in my life.

Fact of the matter is, I wouldn't trade being a bruised reed for anything. It is when I'm in this bruised state that I see more clearly the love of Jesus. I feel, more strongly, his care and attention for me. Even though I may hurt, I know that Horatio Spafford was right, when he said "It is well with my soul" Jesus means more to me now, as a bruised reed, than at any point in my life.

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