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Rooster Cogburn, Bruised Reeds, And Smoldering Wicks

October 16th, 2011 · No Comments · Bible, Christianity

At the end of True Grit, Matty Ross has been snake bit and is dying. Rooster Cogburn mounts her horse and rides her to the nearest town he can find. The town isn’t anywhere nearby and so he rides the horse through the cold night for miles and miles and miles. The horse is giving it everything it’s got. The horse gives and gives and has nothing left…finally the horse sits down and gives up. Rooster Cogburn takes out his pistol and puts the horse out of its misery. I think sometimes we feel like that horse. We have given and given and it feels like all we have left is to sit down and give up. Do you ever feel like that horse? Do you ever feel burnt out…like you have nothing left to give? If you do, I can assure you that God is no Rooster Cogburn. God won’t snuff you out.

“A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
– Isaiah 42:3

Bruised reeds and smoldering wicks have much in common. Both are about to give out. Both are at their end. Both are vulnerable. God is not in the business of nudging us over the cliff’s edge, snuffing us out, or breaking us in two. Here are the verses that follow the one above,

““I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

Just when we think we are at our end God takes us by the hand, refreshes us and is able to use us again. Isaiah says God will keep us and make us a covenant people to be used for his glory. If you ever experience burn out, know that you aren’t alone and know that God won’t finish you off. God has more in store for you. Sometimes you just have to sit down and take a breather. So if you feel like that horse, don’t  ever believe that is the end of the story…there is more to come.


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  • Edward Fudge

    Good words and true, Matt — and thank God that he “saves” (rescues, heals, and restores) and nurtures and sustains by His own power to His own glory! May we all be his instruments in such tasks! -Cordially, Edward

    • mattdabbs

      That brings up our role in the restoration process…I wonder how many times we snuff out the flame of people’s enthusiasm vs. the times when we assist in the restoration/healing process. All it takes is a word, a look, an action or attitude to do either one.

  • cdonley04

    “Just when we think we are at our end God takes us by the hand, refreshes us and is able to use us again.” I needed to hear/read that today. Thank you.

  • allynsalley

    I just read this very encouraging post. Ironically, it posted on my birthday! 🙂

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