A Bruised Reed

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“Unwanted, abandoned because I don’t measure up!” That is how many people feel in our world of upside-down values. Yet, no matter how insecure we feel, each one of us is unique and of infinite worth to our Creator, who didn’t make a mistake when he brought us into being. We may not have Hollywood money or good looks or the brains of Einstein or even the popularity of some of our former classmates at school, but to the one who truly knows us through and through, we are loved with a passion. As the ancient, Hebrew prophet once said about God:

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.”

Isaiah 42:3 (NIVUK)

The BBC’s Panorama programme recently conducted a fascinating investigation into the true identity of a gentle, elderly, American man found abandoned in November 2015 on the streets of Hereford, a small but historic English city. His dementia meant he was unable to explain his situation, and only once did he reveal his name, Roger Curry. He was taken temporarily to a local care home, where he was loved and adopted as one of their own. Unfortunately efforts by the local police to find his family proved fruitless.

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Roger Curry at the care home in Hereford. (Credit: BBC Panorama)

So using social media and a lot of detective work, Panorama finally found his real home, a fenced off, fire-damaged, single-storey house in Los Angeles, the city where he had once worked as a nurse. Roger’s wife and son are accused by the Los Angeles authorities of taking him to England and abandoning him. Roger has now been flown back to Los Angeles where he is being looked after by the local authority. Sadly, according to the Panorama report, the care he’s been receiving recently in L.A., doesn’t match the level of care or devotion that he experienced at the care home in Hereford. The US courts are now deciding on Roger’s future.

To be rejected by your family, for whatever reason, is very sad, but thankfully God will never reject us. His eye is always upon us; his ear is always listening for our cry. So call on the one who loves you, tell Him your troubles, confide in him; never feel afraid that you don’t match up to His expectations, receive his love for you today. Our anxious hearts can be reassured by His promise:

“I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

Hebrews 13:5 (GNT)

Set Free To Choose

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Many of us today are “spiritual but not religious”. We are discerning about which path we choose to follow; we are determined not to be trapped by tradition. But what if you are religious? What if you’ve been brought up in a particular belief system that you didn’t choose?

Today I was speaking to a man, who, even though not a regular churchgoer, believed himself to be tied for life to the church denomination into which he was born and christened. Do you feel similarly trapped or are you a free spirit?

Last week I heard a radio presenter describe what happened to him once on a trip to the supermarket. Having filled his trolley (US cart), he pushed it to the checkout, and the assistant began to scan his items ready for him to pack. However, as he was emptying his shopping onto the conveyor belt, he began to find items in his trolley that he hadn’t chosen and didn’t want. He suddenly realised what must have happened. He had left his trolley at one point to go off in search of something. Having found it, he came back and dropped the item into what he thought was his trolley, but wasn’t! With half his shopping already scanned, what was he going to do? He decided to carry on as if nothing had happened, and as a result he paid for, and took home, a lot of items he didn’t really want.

Unlike that radio presenter and his unwanted goods, we don’t have to remain burdened by someone else’s faith or by an accident of birth. Our parents do make a choice for us, according to their own beliefs when we’re young – it may be a good choice or it may not, but as an adult we are free to decide what our own beliefs should be.

The scriptures tell us that through a relationship with our Creator, we can draw close to God with freedom and confidence. God is not a man whose judgement we can sway by our religious label or seeming good behaviour. He is already aware of our true condition, and yet he loves us intimately. He calls us to turn from our selfish ways, to follow Him and to love Him in return.

The question is not which religious label we have, but are we following the One who gave everything He had that we might know Him?

“In Jesus, and through faith in Jesus, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Ephesians 3:12