Encouragements for our troubled times No. 57

COVID-19 Series | Date: 22 April 2021

The Elders and Deacons want to encourage the members and those who regularly meet with us through this weekly letter. If you have news which you would be happy to share with the fellowship or request for prayer, then please let us know.

A message from our Pastor

** Matthew 12:20**

“A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench... ”

Not all Christians are alike. The Church is made up of all types of people with different strengths and weaknesses. Some Christians are equipped for mighty works and great feats of faith, while others are weak, frail souls who are timid and fearful children, frightened by their own shadow. But whether we are strong and bold or timid and weak we know that we are His chosen people, and we know that he did not choose us for any good or bad in us but because He loved us. Therefore, those who are strong have no reason to boast or to feel superior as we are all God's children and loved by Him. Also, we are all at times weak and vulnerable; at times we all need the support and help of our fellow saints. Likewise, those who are weak and timid have no need to feel inferior; when the Lord chose us, He knew what He was getting but still loved us and chose us. Let us also remember the Lord’s words to Paul when He was afflicted and weakened by a thorn in the flesh, “My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Now, this text is a great encouragement to all who are weak, timid, trembling souls.

For those times that we are like a reed, the Lord tells us that He will not break us. A reed is a very fragile grass. Its tall thin stalks are hollow and when they are dry, at the end of the growing season, they are very brittle and easily broken. A bruised reed is one that has been damaged but not broken off. It is very vulnerable; a gentle breeze or a slight knock could break it off completely. We are like a bruised reed when we are frightened and fearful; when we are ready to faint under trials or give in under temptations, and when we are ready to break under pressure. So easily broken, so ready to leave the field of battle and give in, so timid, so trembling. We can also be like a broken reed when we have given in to sin and temptations, and our souls are bruised by guilt and shame. We weep and mourn and our hearts are fit to break fearing that our Saviour will not hear our cries and forgive us. At these times what a comfort it is to recall these precious words of the Scriptures, ‘a bruised reed He will not break. We need not fear, He chose us and loves us with an everlasting love. He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and we are promised that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. No, He will not cut us off nor will He crush us under with His wrath or punishment. But He will make His grace sufficient for us and His strength perfect for us in our weakness. And when we have sinned and gone astray, He will chasten us and forgive us and bring us back to His side.

And when we are like smoking flax the Lord assures us that He will not quench us. A flax was used as a wick for small oil lamps. They were easily extinguished. A small breeze or interruption in the flow of the oil could make the flame flicker and die and you would be left with a smouldering and smoking flax not quite dead but just on the verge. We are like that smoking flax when our faith is weak and we are full of doubts and fears. At those times our Christian life seems so frail, so weak and sickly that we feel we are about to fail altogether. We can also be like a smoking flax when we are being persecuted and we feel as though we may give in and renounce our faith or be ashamed of our Lord and Saviour. We may feel so unworthy of His love but we should remember this promise, ‘a smoking flax He will not quench.’ No, that life that He breathed into us when He brought us to faith and life He will keep and never allow to be extinguished. He will lose none of us; He has brought us for Himself so that we may spend eternity with Him and will not let us go. He will breathe life into that smoking flax and sustain us and even though our faith may flicker all our lives it will never be extinguished.

Remember Peter when he was weak and fearful, how he denied his Saviour. He was not broken by an angry Lord, nor was he cast off, or allowed to lose his faith; but his loving Saviour restored him, blessed him and used him greatly for His glory. Our loving Saviour loves us no less.