The Broken Reed


What is the better path?…the best path is through the valley of the shadow of death.  The crags of doubt and the valleys of despair offer a proving ground of God that no other terrain can provide.  God does show Himself faithful; but the geography is often desert-dry and mountainous-demanding, to the point that the path seems too dangerous to face the journey ahead.  Who wants to travel with the paltry amount of supplies that we possess or the outdated map we seem to be following, when so many more modern guides are readily available?

The journey involves bringing our wounded heart before God, a heart that is full of rage, overwhelmed with doubt, bloodied but unbroken, rebellious, stained, and lonely.  It does not seem possible that anyone can handle, let alone embrace, our wounded and sinful heart.  But the path involves the risk of putting into words the condition of our inner being and placing those words before God for His response.  The Lord has promised He will not put out the smoldering flax or break the broken reed (see Isaiah 42:3).  But the promises have been made before by a supposedly trustworthy person, and we swore the betrayal was the last we would ever allow our soul to experience.  The obstacle to life is the conviction that God will damage us and destroy us.  The problem is that the path does involve His hurting us, but only in order to heal us.

~Dan B. Allender, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

The best path is through the valley of the shadow of death.


14 responses »

  1. Wow, this is a powerful and scary passage. I hope you are not going through the valley alone.

    I had a pastor at my church share a scripture with me about how God restores to us what is lost because of sins. It is amazing His awesome Grace, Peace and Truth:

    Joel 2:25- I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm– My great army that I sent among you. 26.You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. 27.Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.

    God is able to restore us to be even stronger and closer to Him as we travel through dark valleys of despair and the crags of doubt.

    You and your family are in my prayers daily.

    God is with you because He shines through the words you share with the rest of us.

    God bless you, my sister!


  2. Michelle, Thank you for this post today. I am so encouraged by what you shared, and truly needed to hear these words. I pray you are well.

  3. “God is able to restore us to be even stronger and closer to Him as we travel through dark valleys of despair and the crags of doubt.

    You and your family are in my prayers daily.

    God is with you because He *shines* through the words you share with the rest of us.”

    Amen to what Patiencewaits said from Joel 2!

    “Then He led His people out like sheep, took His flock safely through the *wilderness*. He took good care of them; they had nothing to fear…” – Ps. 78:52-53a (MSG) Plenty of people have seen the pictures of Jesus carrying a lamb. Not as many people have ever seen a painting or drawing of Jesus shepherding a flock ~ even a “flock” of one ~ through a dark, frightening valley. It *feels* like “death”, but as powerful as my feelings (& anyone’s feelings) are, this valley is still not “death”; it is as scary as I imagine death to be, but it is the scare-factor, for this black-as-night valley is the *shadow* of death, and He is leading me, and us, *through* this valley — not leaving us stranded here. “In You, Lord, we’re trusting! Let us *never* be put to confusion [not about Who You are, nor about Your Sovereign purposes, despite the fact that we can see ZIP].”

    Dan A.’s writing is filled with hope, encouragement, & healing — may this be the “oil” (of Ps. 23) that anoints your head, Michelle!

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  5. Hey, Pat. I am never alone with God. I know it sounds cliche, but the truth of it is sinking deeply within…thank you for your prayers. And that passage…yeah…His promises will come true. If not here, definitely There. 🙂

    Hey, Storie! It’s good to see you in blogland again. I read your latest post but haven’t had time to comment. You are a gifted writer, my dear. The book by Allender, The Wounded Heart, is a captivating, yet scary, read. I’m seeing myself on every page. 😕 I’m holding onto the words of this passage and most especially: the path does involve His hurting us, but only in order to heal us. Thanks for your prayers, Storie.

    Hey there, Gracie! Thank you for the reminder that He’s leading us through, not leaving us stranded…and it is only shadows. Some day Reality will come and all the shadows of this existence will fade away. I’m looking forward to that day…what a day, glorious day, that will be!! Your faithful prayer support and encouraging emails are helping to sustain…thank you, dear friend. 🙂

    Oh…and thanks, Carl. 😉

  6. yes. She wrote 2 novels as well before she wrote her memoir, Thin Places. (Watching the Tree Limbs and Wishing on Dandelions)
    “For those of us who have survived sexual abuse, life twists and turns in alleys of confusion. Thank God He picks us up thousands of times, dusts us off, heals us, and enables us to continue walking. That’s been my story. I was sexually abused by neighborhood boys throughout my kindergarten year. That was nearly forty years ago, but the mark they left on me, though faded, is still there.

    Someday, when the New Earth dawns, I’ll be free of this mark forever. And Jesus will use every trauma to beautify me–not with the earthly type of beauty I sometimes long to praised for here on earth, but an ethereal, eternal beauty. I pray the Lord would truly, deeply use my own markedness to change the landscape of the Kingdom of God. In this way, I can revel in the mark, be openly cautious about the vulnerabilty the mark creates, and thank God for His protection and provision along the journey.” ~Mary Demuth from Life in Definace

  7. Wow, Storie. I could have written that first paragraph…and more. I now know that much of my life, if not every bit, has been tainted by those hateful acts. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet learned how to write about the effects. Someday, maybe I’ll get it understood well enough to share more fully.

    Thank you for sharing Mary Demuth. I’ll look her up.

  8. It is not easy to write about, at all. I too, am trying to write but find myself trying to cover it all up afterwards. it’s confusing.
    Her first two novels were based from her own life experiences, written under the guise of “novel”. It was only after writing her way through that she was able to write her memoir.
    Do you still have my email?

  9. I often wonder if that’s what people do when writing novels. I’m not that creative, but yeah, I need to work it out…somehow.

    Yes, I do have your email. I’ll send you a note. 😉

  10. You are right Michelle, that we discover, re-discover, our faith when we need it the most.

    The best path is the one that leads to the greatest understanding. That does mean, as you say, sometimes choosing to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.

    I hope your heart is being healed, as your faith grows stronger.

  11. Your words, Ed, remind me of the saying by Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. It is the better path that leads to greater understanding. Thank you for your kind words.

    Y’welcome, Mandy.

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