The candles flickered as the breeze blew gently through the tent. A moment later a stronger gust was too much, and the flame of one small candle near the door was overwhelmed. Where the fire had been was now only a smoldering wick, glowing faintly in the once-again gentle breeze.
The shepherd quickly reached out to grab hold of another candle that still burned brightly.
“Don’t bother relighting it. You know it will probably just blow out again.”
Emmanuel looked at his wife. “Yes, there is a chance it might go out again. But I’m relighting it.” The shepherd spoke with a calm and knowing assurance. “It’s a good source of light.” He paused slightly, then added, “And, besides, it’s my candle.”
“Why do you always do that?” asked his wife. “What difference does it make, after all? Some candles will always blow out in this drafty tent we live in. What’s the point of relighting that one little candle when there are so many others still lit?”
She seemed somewhat agitated, frustrated by her husband’s strong inclination to light the candle. If it had been just this one time, it might not have been such a big deal. She could easily handle a single incident. But he did it over and over and over, sometimes dozens of times an evening. Worse, it was often some of the same candles he had to relight. Why not move them or just leave them alone? she wondered. What difference could the light from that one little candle make, anyway? All her words had little effect, though. He still relit the candle. Although she loved her husband dearly, she was irritated by him at times.
The kind shepherd snatched the burning candle from its holder and gently touched the flame to the still-glowing wick of the extinguished one. Just that quickly, the candle came back to life, pouring its light into the nighttime surroundings. At that same moment, though, another breeze blew through the tent, threatening to snuff out the candle once again.
Putting the second candle back in its holder, while keeping an eye on the first one, Emmanuel went back to his seat.
“Happy now?” his bride asked, somewhat sarcastically.
Still with a watchful eye on the little candle, he smiled and responded sincerely, “You have no idea how happy.”
The prophet Isaiah promised, “A faintly burning wick he will not quench…” (Isaiah 42:3). The New International Version phrases it a bit differently, “A smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” The exact meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “smoldering” is, apparently, somewhat uncertain. According to Strong’s Concordance, it literally means “to be weak.”
Weak. That’s an interesting concept. Do you ever feel weak? Your Savior makes it His business to strengthen you.
Too often, as the Bride of Christ, we have a tendency to want to abandon the weak ones. Like the wife in the story, we are willing to let languish those whose fire has gone out. But not Christ. Not the Lord who has every right to leave us alone, dying in our rebellion and sin. Instead, He willingly rescues those who are weak.
Shouldn’t we do the same?