A bruised reed he will not break, a smouldering wick He will not snuff out.  (Isaiah 42v3)


The person spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah is the coming Messiah.

It is Jesus.

These verses tell us so much about the character of Jesus.

But who are these bruised reeds and smouldering wicks? Surely we are not to think of them as actual reeds or wicks?

I think not.

At any time in our lives it may be that any one of us is that bruised reed or smouldering wick of which Isaiah speaks.

It may be that ill health; financial worry; broken relationship; an addiction; a family crisis; any of these might make us feel less than whole… make us feel bruised, and struggling to live life fully.

When we find ourselves in that place, the Prophet’s words offer hope.

At such times we may feel that we have been abandoned by family and friends, and that might be true… but we are never abandoned by Jesus.

We live in a society which tends to uphold only the successful, the strong, the winner, the unbroken.

Jesus on the other hand is the Messiah of the broken, the unsuccessful, the hurting, the troubled.

There is no bruised reed or broken life, no life so crushed by pain or sorrow that cannot be held by Jesus and restored to wholeness.

A final thought. It may be that our healing comes to its completion when we reach out, in the name of Jesus, to other bruised reeds or smouldering wicks, encouraging them to begin their journey towards wholeness and a life restored.


Joan Grenfell (Anna Chaplain)