“He does not break the crushed reed
nor quench the wavering flame”
– Isaiah 42:3
Sometimes, we might be tempted, when we look carefully upon ourselves and all that we are, to see only our woundedness, our brokenness.
All of us – every single human being past, present and still to come – is broken or wounded in one way or another. For some, it is physciall illness or mental illness; or it might be loss and grief; for others, it is bearing the sufferings of others in some way; or perhaps not any one thing, but many, many smaller things whose effects accumulate as life goes on. Considering this can leave us feeling deflated or worthless and wondering what is the point of it all.
At such times, it can be helpful to remember that it is not just us – this is the common lot of humanity.
But it is perhaps more helpful to remember one other thing at those moments; the Lord loves us not only despite our woundedness, but precisely because of it.
And finding us in our woundedness and brokenness, what does the Lord do?
The Gospels give us the answer. When approached in faith by the demoniac, the leper, the woman at the well, the tax collector and by so many others – He loves them and He heals them. He loves and He heals us, too. This is the very nature of Christ, Who is mercy itself.
Finding us in our weakness, our human frailty, our woundedness and our brokenness, the Lord extends to us His hand. But notice when He does so that His hand is also wounded – He bears upon Himself the marks of His Passion and Death. This Christ, bearing these marks, redeems us and sanctifies us as only He can do. Nothing and no-one else can offer us what He offers us.
Saint Paul reminds us here of one very important fact –
“But what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Rm.5:8)
Our Lord does not wait for us to become perfect before He offers us His merciful grace; no, He offers it to us precisely where we are right now. And for many of us, ‘where we are’ is in our state of brokenness and woundedness. His merciful grace is not a prize given to those who are successful or already whole or without wounds – rather, it is a balm given while our wounds are still raw; and it is the way to our healing, to our becoming whole once more.
And so, when we look upon ourselves in our woundedness and we are tempted to think we are beyond all hope, let us remember with confidence that it was precisely for us that the Lord came; and it is by His own wounds that ours are healed.