Candles, whether beeswax or oil, require care. They need shelter from drafts. Wax candles can burn dimly if their wicks are broken or crushed. Oil candles need their wicks trimmed and their supply of oil replenished. An oil candle may look fine from the outside even as it is running low on oil, but its lack of fuel will become apparent as its flame begins to flicker and fade out.
Gazing at a struggling candle in our church sanctuary, I asked myself, “How many people seem fine on the outside, but are actually at the edge of burnout?” Some are caring for aging relatives or young children – or both. Many live with chronic illnesses, depression, anxiety, or grief. Others feel trapped under the weight of responsibilities that they can’t bring themselves to let go.
The prophet Isaiah, describing God’s servant, announced, “A dimly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). God does not extinguish or reject wicks that burn dimly. God acts with compassion and justice, shielding us, protecting us and renewing us. Isaiah promises that God’s servant will “faithfully bring forth justice” (42:3).
This message is excerpted from “The light bearers” by Julie A. Kanarr in the January/February 2020 Gather magazine.
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