Is. 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
Christ is kind to us. He does not judge us harshly as we stumble through life. He encourages the weak and feeble Christian. He does not break the bruised reed. He does not snuff out the faint smoldering fire of holiness in a believer, rather, as Calvin says, he “trims the wick.” He fans into flame the least smoldering ember of faith, of goodness, of duty. Rather than quenching its wholly inadequate light, he fans and blows the smoldering ember until it rages as a mighty fire. He holds and supports the bruised reed until it grows strong and firm again.
Calvin writes in his commentary on Isaiah 42:3: “Isaiah ascribes to Christ that forbearance by which he bears with our weakness, which we find to be actually fulfilled by him; for wherever any spark of piety is seen, he strengthens and kindles it, and if he were to act towards us with the utmost rigor, we should be reduced to nothing. Although men therefore totter and stumble, although they are even shaken or out of joint, yet he does not at once cast them off as utterly useless, but bears long, till he makes them stronger and more steadfast.... Following this example, the ministers of the gospel, who are his deputies, ought to shew themselves to be meek, and to support the weak, and gently to lead them in the way, so as not to extinguish in them the feeblest sparks of piety, but, on the contrary, to kindle them with all their might.”
Lord, I have been the bruised reed you did not break. I have been the smoldering wick you did not snuff out. And will be again. Thank you, Lord for your gentle healing touch! Now, as your servant, let me, let us, “support the weak and gently lead them in the way.”