Monday, September 21, 2009

Bruised and Broken

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice...

There I was sitting on the steps to the beach, trying to stay out of the sun. (My fair skin and it’s bright rays have had a lifelong battle with one another.) So I was hiding, trying to the best of my ability, to stay out of its sight and yet still enjoy the wind, the cloudless sky and the relentless, pounding waves (a sound I love to hear.)

It wasn’t long before I noticed, through my hiding slats, the picture of nature just to my right. A broken, wind torn, wave tossed fence meant to preserve the beach vegetation lay tangled beside me; for the most part crushing and bruising the reeds it was meant to protect. Twisted and bent, scarred and battered it reminded me of life.

Every year I look forward to this week. One whole week at the beach with friends of many years. Some of them I only see during this time...did I mention how special this is to me? So, it is often a time of reconnecting, reflection and sharing. On Sunday morning we share a time of worship and I usually share some thoughts in the Word and then comes the best part, when many will share their struggles or joys, their triumphs or sorrows and we will pray for one another.

This has been just such a year. Among us there has been intense mourning over deep loss, triumphant rejoicing over the weddings of four daughters, new grandbabies, expected grandbabies, healed marriages and a new marriage to come yet this year...of one of us! An unexpected blessing.

There has been growth, but it has come from the depths of trials and tribulations of all sorts. And that is life. It is what we are promised in scripture. There will be stuff. And, it is in “the stuff” that our character is formed, that we learn to trust our faithful God and Father and that we rally together around one another...if we are wise.

If you look closely at the broken fence you will see that it is held together by strands of wire. Even broken and worn there is a “holding together.” I am glad that God created us to be a communal people. He placed us in units; families, marriages, churches and communities. But even while our “units” may, at times, fail the end, all by ourselves, alone on planet earth, when it comes right down to the basic is He who holds all things together! It is He who finds the lost, rescues the struggler, heals the wounds, upholds His people, binds up our broken hearts. It is He and He alone.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.