While walking Joy, I noticed the grasses and reeds along the park path. Covering the open space, these particular blades of brown, tan, gold, and maroon growth pointed to the sky and swayed with the slight breeze. As warm temperatures filled this outdoor field, Joy and I walked absorbing heat from the sunshine.

The following day, the once straight, strong, and slender leaved plants bent low to the ground under the pressure and presence of six inches of snow. Although September seemed early for snow, the weather patterns released six inches of water-heavy snow. Bruised by the unexpected temperature drop and moisture in the air, the grasses and reeds bowed to the earth, unable to straighten. Snow pounded these tall grasses, crushing and bruising their structure.

Bruised – Having been crushed or pounded. Having a mark or marks indicating damage.

I can relate to the reeds. Beaten down by difficult life circumstances, I notice feelings of being crushed, pounded, and damaged. Crushed by lost dreams, pounded by attitudes and actions of others, and damaged, accepting that life will never be the same.

In what ways have you felt like a bruised reed pounded and crushed by life’s circumstances?

While describing Jesus’ ministry, Isaiah prophesied that:

He will not shout or cry out,
or raise His voice in the streets.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.
In faithfulness He will bring forth justice;
He will not falter or be discouraged
till He establishes justice on earth. (Isaiah 42:2-4)

The New Testament recorded Jesus’ life and work. He did not shout or “raise His voice in the streets” to accomplish God’s will. As Jesus followed the will of God, He cared for the downcast, the “bruised reed” that the world deemed useless; those discarded by society. Jesus tended to the souls of those wounded emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He offered compassionate care for the weak and downtrodden.

Jesus ——-

  • touched the blind (John 9),
  • healed the leper (Matthew 8),
  • cleansed the hemorrhaging (Mark 5),
  • listened to the hurting (John 11),
  • restored the paralyzed (Matthew 9),
  • confronted the proud (Mark 10)
  • dignified the broken (Mark 14),
  • revitalized the crazy (Mark 5),
  • honored the displaced (Luke 7),
  • consoled the confused (Luke 24),
  • reinstated the fearful (John 21), and
  • forgave the desperate (Luke 23).

Jesus Christ entered the world offering salvation from the trappings of sin and caring for the brokenhearted, damaged, and dismissed. With His presence, Jesus extended attention toward those who knew their need for healing and restoration; the wounded and bruised .

What are some other stories in the Gospel accounts revealing Christ’s tenderness for the bruised and wounded soul?


“A bruised reed He will not break.”

Interestingly, grasses and reeds do not break easily. Only with much force and determination does a reed break. Recently, it was time to discard a floral and grass bouquet from our kitchen counter. Flower petals dropped to the floor and the water revealed mucky grime rather than clear health. I took the arrangement from the vase and realized the stems extended beyond the height of the trash can. I needed to break them. It required strength, intention, and fierceness in order to make them fit the size of the garbage container.

I find encouragement and hope in God’s gracious activity that allows bending but not breaking of the wounded and weary. Although you and I might feel “broken,” the truth is that we are “bruised.” We experience solace in the tender and compassionate kindness of God that does not allow the bruised to become the broken.

Bruised – Having been crushed or pounded. Having a mark or marks indicating damage.

The ruggedness of the reed is also worth noting. Just like reeds and grasses exhibit durability during seasonal storms, so too can followers of Christ remain resilient and resolute in the storms of life, trusting in God’s companionship and purposeful plan for our lives. In what ways are you trusting God and His ways in the midst of bruising storms?

Notice your “bruises.” Recognizing the bruises we bear in the presence of God allows His healing grace to meet our pain and bring about restoration. As seen throughout Scripture as well as in God’s created order, the bruises upon His creation offer opportunities for our healing God to redeem and bring about graceful flourishing with our triune God.

A few days after the snow fall, much to my delight, the grasses and reeds began to perk up. As the snow melted, freeing the blades from the weight of the precipitation, the grass lifted and became straight once again. Although bruised, these wild growing plants rose with determination and beauty.

By God’s grace, we too will rise.

Pray with me:
God, sometimes I feel utterly broken by life. Thank you for the image of the reed; that although bruised, it is not broken. My bruises hurt and cause me to fall down. Keep my focus on you for strength, courage, and trust in your ways. Forgive me for thinking my pain is hidden from your gaze. Thank you for your presence and peace as you restore my bruised bent structure to wholeness with a straightened posture and confidence in your healing and restoration. May I radiate your beauty to those around me for your glory alone, O Lord. In Jesus’ matchless name, Amen.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

John 8:9-11

only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Richard Sibbes. A Bruised Reed. Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 1998.

Henri Nouwen. Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life.. New York, NY. 2006.

Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Crowder. I’m leaning on you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDEA0MtBaJ4

Big Daddy Weave. I know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j25JqWgjDF4