Thinking about Robin Williams’ passing I was reminded of this text in Isaiah, speaking of the ministry of the coming Servant of the Lord:
“a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3)
Calvin commenting on the text says:
“…This is what he means by the metaphor of ‘the bruised reed,’ that he does not wish to break off and altogether crush those who are half-broken, but, on the contrary, to lift up and support them, so as to maintain and strengthen all that is good in them…Isaiah ascribes to Christ that forbearance by which he bears with our weakness, which we find to be actually fulfilled by him; for wherever any spark of piety is seen, he strengthens and kindles it, and if he were to act towards us with the utmost rigor, we should be reduced to nothing. Although men therefore totter and stumble, although they are even shaken or out of joint, yet he does not at once cast them off as utterly useless, but bears long, till he makes them stronger and more steadfast.”
As Christians we are to deal gently with the broken and mournful. It is in this way we follow the Christ we have in the gospel. We follow a Messiah who was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with the painful way of the world we live in. Indeed, it’s precisely to bring comfort and relief to those who mourn that he took up his own cross; he came that he might end their suffering in his own.
If you haven’t already read it, I’d also point you to Alan Noble’s beautiful piece “When Existence Becomes Seemingly Impossible.” He concludes:
What I want to say is that life is harder than most of us will let on, and probably the deepest struggles we’ll face will be silent and petty — things like choosing to get out of bed and get dressed. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof, but so too is Christ’s Grace. So, get up, when you can, and carry on. Rest your burdens on He who loves you, and turn to the pilgrims alongside you. Some days, rising out of bed is a great act of worship. And when you can’t get up, let those around you bear you up as Christ’s body, always remembering that you are loved. And then, carry that mercy and grace to your neighbor, who needs it no less.
Soli Deo Gloria